vanilla panna cotta with stewed strawberries and strawberry syrup

This is a quick and easy dessert – you just need to make it ahead of time to allow it time to set.

This is a reliable panna cotta recipe and can be used with other accompaniments, but I’ve deliberately not made it too sweet as the strawberries sweeten up the dish already. If serving the panna cotta with something less sweet then it may need a little more sugar. The overall taste of this dessert is strawberries and cream!


400g strawberries (i didn’t use the whole pack for the 2 of us, and i bought super sweet ones. a 300g pack would suffice for 2 people but i wanted to keep a couple aside for presentation)
dessert wine (eg vin santo)

80g caster sugar (2 x 40g amounts)

300ml double cream

200ml semi-skimmed milk

1 x vanilla pod, sliced lengthways and seeds scraped out

3 x gelatine leaves

serves 2-3 (i had enough panna cotta mix to make 3.5!)


  1. pop your gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water. whilst they’re soaking, combine the double cream, milk, 40g of caster sugar and vanilla pod and seeds in a heavy bottomed saucepan. stir over a low heat until simmering.
  2. remove the gelatine leaves from the water and squeeze any excess water out of them. i tend to use kitchen towels to do this.
  3. add the gelatine to the pan and remove from the heat. remove the vanilla pod stir until the gelatine leaves have fully dissolved. pour the mixture into ramekins and set aside – i allow mine to cool slightly at room temperature before putting in the fridge.
  4. make a start on the strawberries – hull 300g strawberries and slice into half (quarters if they’re large) and add to a saucepan. add a splash of dessert wine and 40g caster sugar and bring up to a medium heat. allow the mixture to bubble away and thicken, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking. if there isn’t a liquid consistency, add a little more dessert wine or water. i find that the strawberries release a lot of juice as they cook. this process should take approx 10-15 mins.
  5. remove the strawberries from the heat. using a sieve, strain the strawberries from the liquid. the liquid should have a gloopy, syrup-like texture. pop the syrup and the strawberries into separate bowls and put them in the fridge.
  6. after a while, the panna cottas should develop a skin, i prefer to remove this, so simple remove it using a table knife. then put the panna cottas in the fridge. ideally, they need about 3-4 hours to fully set if you’re planning to remove them from the ramekins.
  7. 4 hours later you will be ready to plate up! first is the panna cotta – it can be tricky to remove it from the ramekin. ideally, you’ll need a blowtorch, and you can just give the outside of the ramekin a quick blast. i don’t own a blowtorch, so i fill a small bowl with boiling water, and using tongs quickly dip the ramekins into it. you must use tongs because the ramekins can get very hot and you can end up burning your fingers and dropping it into the water! turn the ramekin out onto a plate. place a large spoonful of the strawberries on top of your panna cotta, and pour a generous serving of strawberry syrup over the top. i also used some of mine to decorate the plate. serve with a couple of fresh strawberries to help cut through the sweetness. enjoy!

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