Vanilla Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries

panna cotta with balsamic strawberries Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberries is a refreshingly light yet extremely popular Italian dessert. Literally translated as "cooked cream", this is a rich and creamy custard, topped with berries, caramel or chocolate sauce. When I heard about it for the first time, I was skeptical; pepper and vinegar in a dessert?! doesn't sound very inviting. But I courageously tasted it at a cafe once, and I have to tell you that I was impressed! The sweet and creamy pudding was rich and delicious, and the balsamic strawberry dressing indeed added an element of spice; with just a tiny hint of black pepper, it beautifully compliments the sweetness of the custard. Playing around with flavors, I tweaked the classic traditional recipe with some interesting additions to give you my version of the divine dessert - Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis!

I took inspiration from Chef Mario Batali's Panna Cotta with Strawberries recipe, but modified the strawberry sauce considerably by adding orange zest and mint, and reducing the amount of black pepper and balsamic vinegar. I also added some cardamom powder to my Panna Cotta, and used greek-style yogurt instead of plain whole-milk. Overall, this recipe is a sure-shot winner, and definitely makes for a sophisticated yet easy dessert for dinner parties! And it looks extremely pretty too! This strawberry dessert is on its way to Cooksister's WTSIM-Berries event! check out some cool recipe variations at the end of this post!


Panna Cotta
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/4 cup greek style yogurt (or whole-milk)
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/2 tspn cardamom powder
1/2 cup sugar

Strawberry Sauce
10-12 medium strawberries - hulled & sliced
2 tbsp sugar
3-4 mint leaves
1/4 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
1/4 tspn finely ground black pepper (optional)


Vanilla Panna Cotta
Pour 2 tbsp warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let it stand until softened, about 15 minutes.

Whisk 1 cup cream, yogurt/milk, and vanilla and cardamom in large bowl to blend.

Heat the remaining 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and cream comes to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside. Add the gelatin mixture to the cream, stirring continuously to dissolve the gelatin.

Now mix the hot cream & gelatin mixture into the yogurt mixture in bowl. Divide the mixture among six ramekins or moulds, using about 1/2 cup for each. Refrigerate desserts uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Dressing the Strawberries
Toss the strawberries, vinegar, sugar, orange zest, mint leaves and pepper in large bowl to combine. Let stand 30 minutes, tossing occasionally, to allow the fruit to macerate and soak the flavors. Adjust sugar according to your taste if needed, then cover it with cling wrap and keep it refrigerated until serving time.

When ready to serve, unmould the panna-cotta by inverting on a dessert plate. Remove the mint leaves from the strawberry sauce. Gently layer the custard with the sauce and garnish with a fresh sprig of mint if needed.

Variations: You can also puree the strawberries and add it to the panna cotta mixture to make Strawberry Panna Cotta. Add a hint of orange zest to the cream mixture instead of cardamom. Or use some other essence like almond or saffron. Feel free to experiment with your choice of flavors or fruits for the topping.

Panna Cotta & Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar is a popular dessert at many restaurants. It serves to be a light yet elegant and easy dessert at several occasions. The dressing in the strawberries compliments the sweetness of the pudding, at the same time giving it a unique sweet and spicy taste that lingers long after you have finished your dessert!

Related Recipes:
Low-Fat Strawberry-Vanilla Cake
Mixed-Berry & White CHocolate Bread Pudding
Traditional Vanilla Pound Cake

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amna said...

yet to try panna cotta.. strawberries are available in plenty here, been meaning to make something with them for a while :)and i do have ur event in mind, will definitely participate!

Manggy said...

Yum! Looks delicious-- thanks for reminding me, it's been a while since I've made/eaten panna cotta :)

SMN said...

Mansi that luks so devine. yet to try this.

Rachel said...

wow...the only one I knew to make was a coffee one with choco sauce..this looks refreshing...

Adam said...

That looks awesome. Balsamic with strawberries is surprisingly delicious. I'm going to have to investigate this.

ST said...

There is a treat for u at my blog:))
vanilla Panna cotta looks yummy .....

Finla said...

Hi hi guess wht i am going to post tommorow, the same.
This looks delicious too.
I love panacotta and such a eaasy dessert but you give it to you guest and they say it is exqusite :-)

FH said...

Sweet and Tangy dessert! YUM!:)

I will post a dish for your event next week at FH, simple Indian one! Last post at Aroma today!:))

@the_whisk_affair said...

wow! another one of your masterpieces mansi! it looks excellent! a must try for me!

SASHREE said...

wow..thats amazing.thanx for sharing a gr8 one

Mansi said...

glad to see so many panna cotta lovers!:) yeah, I think my reipe turned out better than Chef's Mario's original version, if I may say so!:) so do try it out and let me know how it turns out ppl..maybe then I can go for the FN challenge!!:D

Laavanya said...

That looks great Mansi... I always have a tough time deciding whether to have panna cotta or tiramisu for dessert.. Most of the time tiramisu wins.. but I love the creamy texture of panna cotta too.

Uma said...

delicious. bookmarked.

Anonymous said...

brilliant recipe! I love your addition of mint and orange juice to the balsamic!


Unknown said...

Nice version of pana cotta! I'm hungry!!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Oh the delights of panna cotta! Yes i truly enjoy the dessert. The strawberry panna cotta on my blog was a delicious experience that i can only recommend you try Mansi! I love the strawberry balsamic combo.

Mansi said...

thank you folks, for all your ideas and feedback! Meeta, I'll surely try your version did look pretty in the pics:)!

Kalai said...

Haven't tried panna cotta, but this looks phenomenal!! Gorgeous refreshing dessert, Mansi! :)

Dee said...

Mansi . Can i have some, its mouthwatering!! Especially after the a hot chili chutney!!

Vaidehi Bhave said...

it looks delicious :) great recipe

mitr_bayarea said...


this dessert with starwberries looks so rich and creamy, nice one.

Anonymous said...

I have never made panna ricotta in my life, but have accumulated enough recipes from fellow bloggers to finally dare to make it:) yours looks so delicious! Another addition to my panna ricotta recipes:)

test it comm said...

That looks so good! I like the heart shape.

Namratha said...

Ohhhh that looks so inviting Mansi, feel like digging in!

Sonia said...

Hi Mansi,
I must tell Thank you for this recipe. I tried it today and it come out gr8 and divine...! my dear hubby was just impressed...!
Thanks again.
take care.

Jeanne said...

I felt the same way as you when I first hear of balsamic strawberries... until I tried them. The tastes just *work* together! Love the heart-shaped pannacotta too - a lovely entry :) Thanks for taking part in WTSIM this month.

Dragon said...

Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar are match made in heaven. Your panna cotta looks amazing. Great job!

Anonymous said...

I'm drooling right now. Really nicely done.