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An Espresso Panna Cotta Recipe That You Can Easily Make

This Espresso Panna Cotta recipe is so great because it is easy to prepare and it will be as popular with your whole family as it is for diners here in Italy.

Espresso Panna Cotta - Grainy Sauce

Grainy Sauce

Why Espresso Panna Cotta Is Amazing

One of the things I am most passionate about in Italy is the coffee culture. I love having an espresso in a bar and at home, and trying new roasters (torrefazione) is always an exciting experience. There are national, regional and even neighborhood coffee roasters that can be an exciting discovery and I love this version of Espresso Panna Cotta because it lets me try any of my favorite coffees while also pairing the dessert with an espresso. It is a real Win-Win!

What Does Panna Cotta Literally Mean?

If I had spent any time thinking about the translation of Panna Cotta, it would have been obvious that my expectations were pretty far afield. Panna translates to cream and Cotta means cooked. The simple and accurate name of the dish understates how delicious it is and how well it goes with a nice espresso after a meal.

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Pasta MakerGnocchi BoardPasta BoardRavioli Maker
Ravioli Press/StamperRicerBialetti Pasta PotBamboo Cutting Board Set of 3
Silpat Baking MatSantoku KnifeMeasuring Cups and SpoonsStainless Mixing Bowls
Dutch OvenMesh StrainersStainless ColanderStainless Steel Fry Pan

Bialetti Moka – Silver

The Moka Express is the original stovetop espresso maker and is the Italian way of preparing a delicious coffee that dates back to 1933.

How To Make Espresso Panna Cotta Like Gordon Ramsey

When I wrote about making the traditional Panna Cotta recipe, I laid into Jamie Oliver’s version pretty hard. This is mostly because he claims to be making Italian food but is really not. His recipes aren’t authentic and only loosely influenced by Italy. For this reason, I was scared when I saw that Gordon Ramsey had an Espresso Panna Cotta recipe, but I must admit it looks pretty solid. Different than mine, but no wrong ingredients, like yogurt, and even some good additions like hazelnuts. All in all, not bad, but I prefer mine.

Espresso Panna Cotta - Strong Coffee

Using Strong Coffee

What Kind Of Cream Do You Use For Espresso Panna Cotta?

Despite some recipes I’ve read you need heavy cream. You can’t really substitute milk, yogurt and a vegan option like oat or almond milk. Again, it is in the name, Panna! If you try an alternative it will throw off the creamy texture and your panna cotta might also turn out too watery. Stick with the traditional heavy cream.

How Long Does Espresso Panna Cotta Take To Set In The Fridge?

Mixing Bowls

Only recently have a realized how great mixing bowls with lids are and these stainless steel beauties are amazing!

With the addition of the espresso, which will thin out the mixture, I would strongly recommend letting it stay in the refrigerator overnight. Most recipes call for as little as 3 hours in the refrigerator for the gelatin to fully set, but this definitely seems too short. Also, and this is something I didn’t do, you should cover the espresso panna cotta with a cling film / saran wrap to prevent the skin on top. This is similar to the pudding skin and should be avoided on your first attempt. After that, see if you like it because some people do.

Can You Put Too Much Gelatin In Espresso Panna Cotta?

Yes you can, but you can also put in too little. I used the gelatin sheets and I even weighed them to make sure they were the right amount. If you need to use the powder, check to make sure they are equivalent amounts. I keep seeing a comparison of 1 sheet of gelatin being equal to 1 teaspoon, but given different sizes of sheets, I would recommend also comparing weight and having those be equal as well.

Remember, too much gelatin will leave this delicious and delicate dessert rubbery and a little too firm. Too little gelatin will result in a watery puddle and no matter how much time you leave it in the refrigerator, it will never firm up.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Don’t buy cheap plastic cups and spoons because this stainless steel set will last a really long time!

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Espresso Panna Cotta Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Servings: 6

Ingredients For Espresso Panna Cotta

  • 8 ounces (230 ml) of Espresso Coffee
  • 1 pint (16 oz or 500 ml) of Heavy Cream
  • 1 Vanilla Bean Pod
  • 3.5 ounces (100 g) of granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 ounce (8 g) of Gelatin sheets
  • 4 ounces of Dark Chocolate
Espresso Panna Cotta - Ingredients


Mesh Strainers

This set of strainers are the right tool for the job and easily cleaned later.

Espresso Panna Cotta Cooking Instructions

  1. Brew 8 ounces of your favorite espresso coffee.
  2. Add the gelatin to cold water and allow it to bloom for 15 minutes.
  3. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a knife.
  4. Add the cream, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and the pod itself to a pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Continue to stir the cream mixture to ensure it doesn’t scald or burn. When it is lightly boiling and the sugar has dissolved completely.
  6. Remove the gelatin from the cold water and squeeze any water out of it. Add it to the cream mixture and stir to dissolve the gelatin. Add 2/3 of the brewed espresso to the cream mixture.
  7. When the gelatin has dissolved, pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and return it to the pan off the heat.
  8. Pour the mixture into the forms you chose. I used a silicone muffin pan, but any tapered cup will work.
  9. Chill the cups in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. While it is chilling, add the remaining 1/3 of the espresso to the dark chocolate and make a sauce.
  10. Once it is firm, remove the panna cotta from the form, put on a plate and pour your coffee and chocolate topping all over it.

Serving Suggestions

You can try other toppings and I recommend that you do. Of course, different chocolates, like milk chocolate, and variations on the coffee that you used can be fun to try. Another traditional choice could be a caramel sauce, but I would probably stay away from the fruit toppings on this version. It might just be my tastes, but I don’t think coffee and fruit go together well.

Previous Recipes That Might Interest You

If you enjoyed this recipe for Espresso Panna Cotta or you like traditional Italian dishes, I think you have found your home here. These are some of my previous recipes and blog posts that you might want to check out:

Espresso Panna Cotta - Moka

Don’t Forget Your Moka

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