Tiny Video Tip: How to Make Silky Panna Cotta

published Mar 12, 2015
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Who doesn’t want that “WOW” recipe that is impressive but secretly easy to make? Panna Cotta is one of our favorite desserts – silky smooth and scrumptious, a great base for a variety of toppings, and it totally fits the memorable-yet-easy bill. In this delicious vanilla bean (you can use the paste from an actual vanilla bean or vanilla extract) and berry compote version, we’ve used dairy foods with no or minimal amounts of lactose, making it not only simple to master, but lactose intolerance-friendly too.

In fact, each serving contains only about 1 gram of lactose, which is from the crème fraiche. When you use lactose-free cow’s milk, there is no lactose, but it still contains all the nutrients in milk, because it is milk! One gram of lactose can be tolerable in many individuals, and the National Institutes of Health states that most people with lactose intolerance are able to tolerate the amount of lactose in one 8-ounce cup of milk (which is 12 grams of lactose) with no or minimal symptoms.

After this 15-second video, you’ll be running to the kitchen to start making (and devouring) this wonderfully delicious medley of creamy vanilla bean custard in no time.

Step-by-step details are below – including tips for creating that show-stopping berry compote – and be sure to visit EatConfidentlyWithLI.org and follow @NtlDairyCouncil on Twitter to learn more about enjoying dairy.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Mixed Berry Compote

Makes 4 to 6 ramekins

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 cup

    chilled non-fat cow's milk (Lactose-free cow's milk optional)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    unflavored gelatin (4 grams)

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup

    creme fraiche

  • 1 cup

    mixed berry preserves


  1. Pour the cold cow's milk into a medium saucepan; sprinkle the surface evenly with the gelatin and let stand for 10 minutes to hydrate the gelatin. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside 6 shot glasses (I used votive holders) or small ramekins.

  2. Heat the cow's milk and gelatin over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it just begins to simmer (do not boil.) Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the honey and stir until the honey is dissolved.

  3. Slowly whisk the creme fraiche into the milk mixture. (Do not dump it, or you could cause the gelatin to prematurely set.) Transfer to a plastic zip-close bag; press the air out and seal. Place the bag in the water bath, and agitating frequently until the mixture begins to thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. (Or until it reaches 50°F on an instant read thermometer.)

  4. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl or measuring cup; stir in the vanilla. Ladle it evenly among glasses. Cover with plastic wrap (making sure the plastic wrap doesn’t touch the surface of the panna cotta) refrigerate until just set, a minimum of 4 hours.

  5. About an hour before serving, heat the berry preserves in a small saucepan until runny. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids. Allow to cool. Spoon jam mixture over panna cotta before serving.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional Facts
Calories: 330
Total Fat: 15 g
Saturated Fat: 9 g
Cholesterol: 55 mg
Sodium: 55 mg
Protein: 4 g
Carbohydrates: 47 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Lactose: 1.3 g*
Calcium: 8 %
Vitamin A: 20%
Iron: 0%
Vitamin C: 25 %

*Lactose content per serving is based on the use of lactose-free dairy milk.


Video by David Lee Studios for The Kitchn
Recipe by Nealey Dozier