Vanilla Panna




Introduction: Vanilla Panna

This is a guide on how to make Vanilla Panna, or Vanilla Pannacotta without the need for hours of work.

NOTE: These babies are cooling in the walk in up at work right now, I had to take cell-phone picture today but I will have more, 10 mega pixels pictures, on the maro with the finished decorations and more pictures of the ingredients.


My cooking mentor once told me "To make good food you must understand the food, to understand the food you must know the history and chemical reactions of the food...Or you could just add some vanilla and caramel to it." So now I'm going to give you a brief history of pannacotta, so skip to the next page if you don't care like me.

Pannacotta literately means "cooked cream" or "cooked custard" in Italian. The main ingredients that make panna panna are the gelatin powder and the heavy cream. without them you would just have a semi-gooey-teeth-roting-thing (sounds like my next instructable). The heat activates the gelatin and when mixed with the heavy cream then refrigerated it will form a solid. The sugar is added to help with the sweetness a bit and even out the vanilla taste. Milk is used to make the panna not a solid chunk and more like jello. Finally Vanilla is used just because I love the taste and because of the combination of the types I'm using it will add some appearance to the dessert.

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Step 1: Hunt and Gather

Tools you will need:
Stove pot (1 quart or more)
Wire Whisk
X 4-5 oz. containers
Measuring Cups
Measuring Spoons
Plastic Wrap.

Ingredients needed:
Unflavored Gelatin - 1 oz. envelope
Milk - .5 cups
Heavy Cream (Whipping Cream) - 2.5 cups
Sugar - .5 cups
Vanilla - Differs by type of vanilla, see vanilla page.

Step 2: Gelatin and Sugar

Place the gelatin pack and the sugar in the stove pot and then mix together to form a fine powder

Step 3: Add the Milk

Mix all of the milk into the stove pot with the sugar-gelatin mix so that the sugar and gelatin are floating in the milk.

Step 4: Bring the Heat

Take the milk-gelatin-sugar mix and place it over medium heat while mixing till the sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved.

To check if they are dissolved dip your index finger in the mix and rub it with your thumb, if you don't feel grains it is dissolved; I would check in a few spots just to be sure.

Step 5: Take Off the Heat

Take of the heat as soon as everything is dissolved.

Carefully measure out the heavy cream and add to mix then stir until mixed extremely well.

Step 6: Vanilla

Add the vanilla

This is alot harder than it seams because of the different types of vanilla that are out on the market so i have made up a chart of how much of each type to use

Imitation vanilla extract:1 tablespoon
Pure Vanilla extract: 3 teaspoons
Madagascar and Mexican Vanilla: 2 teaspoons
Madagascar vanilla bean paste: 1.5 teaspoons

My combination of pure vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste : 1 teaspoon of the abstract and 1 teaspoon of the paste.

Step 7: Pour Into Dishes

If you are going to flip the dessert out of the dish then spray the inside of the dish with non-stick cooking spray if not then ignore this sentence.

Ladle out 4-5 oz. of the mix into the dishes and wrap with the plastic wrap to make it air-tight.

Now refrigerate for 4-6 hours, if it dose not set into a solid-esq thing you did not dissolve the grains all the way.

Step 8: Lets Get Creative


Cut off the stem of a strawberry and let the main part of the berry float cut-side up in the panna.

Make your own sauce, dressing, or syrup to decorate the dish.

experiment with food colorings and designed pans

Make a Panna-Cake by not separating the mix and just putting it into a cake pan.

Let your imagination run loose and test the limits of cooking. Feel free to message me with ideas and I will try them for you.

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    6 Discussions


    12 years ago on Step 6

    Also another option is using whole vanilla pods for the ultimate flavour. Ideally when cooking these light coloured deserts you want to show the black speckle of the vanilla seeds to demonstrate that you have used real vanilla. Vanilla extract does contain the seeds - only whole pods and paste. You would split the pods lengthwise and add with the liquids at the start and heat the mixture including the split pods. You remove the pods at the end after the seeds and flavour have been transfered to the mixture. Don't throw the pods away - just rinse them and use them again. For more info on how to use whole vanilla pods see


    12 years ago on Introduction

    this is the best dessert in the world! i just went to a party where there was a HUGE pan of panna cotta all tumbled together with fresh berries...pure ambrosia


    12 years ago on Step 8

    I might give this a go, but I think it'd be nice if you improved the quality of pictures (by a LOT), and you didn't have that brown stuff all over it in the first pic.


    12 years ago on Step 6

    Um, one tablespoon is 3 teaspoons. Unless you're in Australia, where one Tbl is 4 teaspoons. Since the rest of the world uses 1Tbl = 3 tsp, it might be nice to be clear about which you mean (or just use tsps for this measurement).


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    It has that texture but the processes involved are different because flan is from Spain/Mexico.