Panna Cotta with Cranberry Coulis

“In Italian, panna cotta literally means ‘cooked cream’,” explains chef Heather Thomas.

“These quivering little creamy desserts look very elegant and are served in a colourful pool of sieved cranberries. If preferred, you can drizzle the coulis over the top of the panna cottas.”

Serves: 6


  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 300ml double cream
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons agar agar powder
  • 6 tablespoons caster sugar

For the cranberry coulis:

  • 200g fresh cranberries
  • 100g caster sugar
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice

Read: Oh-so-easy Lemon Tart

Panna Cotta with Cranberry Coulis. (Joff Lee/PA)

With a sharp knife, slice open the vanilla pod lengthways from end to end, and scrape out the seeds. Set aside.

Place the vanilla pod and seeds in a pan with the cream and milk. Add the agar agar and whisk well. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.

Add the sugar and set the pan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar and agar agar dissolve and, when the mixture is very hot and nearly at boiling point, reduce the heat to low and cook for three minutes.

Read: Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Orange Crème Brulée

Turn off the heat and remove the vanilla pod (don’t discard it, see tip). Strain the mixture through a sieve into a jug.

Pour the mixture into six dariole moulds or six-centimetre ramekins, then cover and chill in the fridge for at least three hours, or until the panna cotta sets. Don’t worry if it’s not super firm – it should be a soft set with the slightest hint of a wobble.

Meanwhile, make the cranberry coulis: put all the ingredients in a saucepan and set over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and then increase the heat and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the berries burst. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing it down with a spoon, into a bowl and leave until cold. Discard the cranberry solids in the sieve.

Unmould the panna cottas onto six serving plates. Carefully run a thin knife around the edge of the ramekins or moulds and invert them onto the plates. If the panna cotta doesn’t drop out, quickly dip the moulds or ramekins into a bowl of hot water and try again. Pour the cranberry coulis around each panna cotta so it sits in a pretty scarlet pool. Serve immediately.

Tip: Don’t throw away the used vanilla pod. Wash and dry it thoroughly and then pop it into a jar of sugar. Cover with the lid and leave for the vanilla flavour to infuse the sugar. You can use it in baking, or even in tea!

How did the recipe turn out? Would you tweak anything? Why not let us know in the comments section below?

– With PA

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