Raspberry Panna Cotta is a fruity twist on this most Italian of desserts. Pink and tangy from infused raspberry purée, yet still richly creamy and lightly set as a Panna Cotta should be. Optional dairy free.
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Continuing the love of my Italian heritage with Raspberry Panna Cotta
This Raspberry Panna Cotta is the latest addition to the Gluten Free Alchemist Panna Cotta collection. A wobbly pudding of perfectly pink perfection… Rich and creamy, yet tangily fruity at the same time. With another nod to my Italian heritage and my adoration of this most Italian of desserts, I think I may have just died and gone to heaven. My grandmother would be happy.
But to be clear… This is not a vanilla panna cotta with a layer of raspberry… This dessert is a Raspberry Panna Cotta in its truest sense… Made with real raspberry purée and decadent cream.
What is Panna Cotta?
Panna Cotta is directly translated as ‘Cooked Cream’ and is believed to have originated in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. It is not to be confused with ‘jelly’ though… It is far more sophisticated than that! Indeed a good Panna Cotta should have a ‘set’ that wobbles and a melt-in-the-mouth consistency that will have you swooning.
Traditionally, a Panna Cotta would always be made with a combination of cream, sugar and gelatine. However, in recent times, ‘tradition’ has had its boundaries stretched. And the Panna Cotta has diversified with recipes that offer many flavour variations, as well as the option to go lighter, vegetarian or vegan in ingredients.
At Gluten Free Alchemist we have recipes for a few variations… From the most traditional simple Vanilla Panna Cotta… Through to a celebratory White Chocolate Panna Cotta (deliciously served with honey-roasted figs)… A similar recipe infused with lavender… And even a Layered Blackcurrant Panna Cotta.
But search the web and there are any number of flavours out there…
Can I make this Raspberry Panna Cotta recipe using different fruit?
Yes. If Raspberry Panna Cotta is not something that appeals to you, then it is fine to use an alternative purée in the recipe. Because the fruit is reduced, puréed and then measured by weight and/or volume, it should be fine to sub with most other fruits (providing you feel they will translate well into a creamy dessert).
Alternative berries are an obvious choice. But I’m also quite tempted to make a version of Panna Cotta with Melon, to use some peaches, nectarines or even some passion fruits… Or to go tropical with mango or coconut.
Using gelatine to set desserts – How gelatine ‘leaves’ are graded
Gelatine is not as straightforward as we would like to hope. So it is worth stating at the outset that while any gelatine can be used to make Panna Cotta, not all gelatines are equal. So what’s the difference between them?
Gelatine is ‘graded’ by clarity, ‘bloom strength’ (its ability to gel) and by weight. There are 5 different ‘grades’ of gelatine leaf, which run from the lowest grade titanium, through bronze, silver, gold and up to the top level platinum. Thus weight for weight, platinum gelatine will have the strongest gelling capacity and titanium the least.
But… To compensate for the variable bloom strength, gelatine leaves are usually manufactured ‘like for like’ in terms of their setting capacity. As such, although heavier, 1 bronze leaf can be used in the same way as 1 gold leaf or 1 platinum leaf, etc. It’s a straight switch.
Then of course, there is also gelatine powder, which is basically dried gelatine that has been ground into tiny grains. Although the powder can be used in place of leaves, it does not have the best clarity and for this reason, I mostly avoid using it for desserts (although it is fabulous for providing carefully calculated structure in some gluten free bread recipes).
Which is the best gelatine for making Raspberry Panna Cotta?
Because Raspberry Panna Cotta should taste pure and richly creamy, I would advise using high-quality gelatine leaves when making it… I always use (Dr Oetker) Platinum leaves (which weight for weight provide the best purity and set for the least weight). This ensures there is no hint of either gelatine smell or flavour in the final dessert. But if you can only find an alternative leaf grade, the recipe will still work fine.
If you should choose to use gelatine powder or Vegegel to make Raspberry Panna Cotta, please check the packet instructions for how to convert leaves to spoons/weight of powder.
Is this Raspberry Panna Cotta recipe gluten free?
Absolutely yes! Not only is it a delicious dessert, but it’s naturally gluten free! How cool is that?
Can I make the dessert dairy-free as well as gluten free?
Yes. To make a dairy-free Raspberry Panna Cotta, all you need to do is sub the dairy cream for a good dairy-free alternative. I’m really looking forward to trying the recipe with this new dairy-free double cream from Coconut Collaborative.
Tips for making the best Raspberry Panna Cotta
- Chill the Panna Cotta Moulds by placing them in the freezer ahead of time. If they are super-cold, the ‘custard’ will cool and set more quickly.
- When making the raspberry purée reduce the liquid by simmering for about 10 minutes. Don’t worry about reducing a little too much, the right volume can easily be made up again by adding a little milk.
- Sieve the cooked raspberries for the purée thoroughly, to remove all fruit pips and skins… Pips in Panna Cotta ruin the experience of eating it! To do this, force the simmered fruit through a fine-mesh sieve using the back of a spoon.
- Soak the gelatine leaves for a good 5 to 10 minutes in cold water and then drain well before adding to the hot purée. This will ensure it dissolves quickly and evenly.
- Do not let the cream boil. Remove it from the heat as soon as it reaches ‘simmer point’ (when bubbles are just starting to form around the edge of the pan).
- Use a tea strainer (or small sieve) when pouring the final Raspberry Panna Cotta custard into the moulds. This will remove any remaining lumps and ensure a smooth texture.
- Cover the Panna Cottas with a tray or some clingfilm when cooling to prevent a skin forming. And cool as quickly as possible.
How to remove Panna Cotta from the moulds
Okay… I don’t profess to being an expert at this and it is possibly the bit I dislike most about making moulded Panna Cotta. But… To remove Raspberry Panna Cotta from the moulds
- Carefully dip the outside of the mould in very hot water (and I mean dip or the Panna Cotta will melt).
- Dry the outside so that no remaining water drips end up on the serving plate.
- Place the serving plate over the top of the mould and invert so that the mould is upside down on the plate.
- Either bang the base of the mould to encourage the dessert onto the plate, or (if necessary) give a little shake (all while holding the serving plate in place).
- If the Panna Cotta is refusing to move, very carefully run a sharp knife around the inside edge and/or go through the dipping process again.
- Be determined and persevere and don’t worry if it’s not perfect.
But here’s a thing! I recently read somewhere that if you mould and set your Panna Cotta in disposable cups (the coated paper hot drinks variety), they may be easier to release. The theory goes that once they have been dipped and turned upside down, piercing the base of the cup with a clean pin, releases the Panna Cotta, with or without a gentle squeeze (presumably by breaking the vacuum suction effect).
I am absolutely trying this method next time!
How to serve Raspberry Panna Cotta
Although Raspberry Panna Cotta is delicious served ‘straight’ with no toppings or additions, I get that it looks a little boring. To pimp it up, serve with
- Fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or other colourful fruit.
- Decorate with a leaf or two of basil or mint. They pair wonderfully with raspberry.
- Top with lightly whipped vanilla cream, or add a pot of pouring cream on the side.
- Make a Berry Coulis and drizzle over at the plate.
- Add a sprinkle of chopped nuts or coarse-grated white chocolate to contrast with the smoothness of the Panna Cotta.
- Dust with a little freeze-dried raspberry powder.
- Possibly a little controversial, but adorn with a drop of Dark Chocolate Sauce. Raspberry and chocolate are a heavenly marriage.
Ready to make Raspberry Panna Cotta?
And that’s it. You’ll find the recipe for my Raspberry Panna Cotta below. I hope you enjoy it. If you have any extra questions, just shout!
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Other amazing Italian desserts at Gluten Free Alchemist
Raspberry Panna Cotta
- 4 individual pudding basins/silicone moulds
- flat-bottomed bowl
- measuring jug
- tea strainer/fine sieve
- 200 g raspberries fresh or frozen
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 80 g white caster sugar (superfine sugar)
Raspberry Panna Cotta
- 200 g raspberry purée (if purée weight is under 200g, then make up to the full amount with milk)
- 300 g/ml double cream (heavy cream)
- 2 leaves PLATINUM grade leaf gelatine (= 3.5g PLATINUM gelatine leaves)
Raspberry Purée (can be made ahead of time)
- Weigh the raspberries, lemon juice and sugar into a saucepan.
- Set over a low heat on the hob, stirring continuously, until the sugar dissolves and the raspberries start to break down.
- Squash the fruit against the sides of the pan to release the juice and simmer, stirring intermittently until the liquid has reduced a little (about 10 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly, before straining through a fine-meshed sieve. Work the fruit with the back of a spoon to push as much pulp and juice through as possible. Discard the remaining fibre.
- Measure the purée in a jug to 200 g. If it is less, make up to the full weight with milk.
Raspberry Panna Cotta
- Place 4 individual non-stick pudding basins (or equivalent) in the freezer or fridge to chill.
- Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water to soften for 5 to 10 minutes as per instructions on the packet.
- Warm the purée in a pan or microwave until just simmering. Remove from the heat.
- Drain the gelatine, squeeze out any excess water and add to the hot purée, stirring until completely dissolved.
- Immediately heat the cream in a small saucepan until it is just below simmering point and then remove from the heat. Do not allow to boil.
- Pour the purée-gelatine mix into the cream pan and stir until fully combined.
- Cool slightly, stirring, but do not allow to thicken.
- Take the chilled moulds and quickly pour the panna cotta mixture through a tea strainer or sieve into the moulds, in equal portions.
- Cool the puddings as quickly as possible (cover the moulds with cling film/tray to limit a skin forming).
- Chill in the fridge until completely set.
- Gently warm the outside of each pudding basin and carefully tip each Panna Cotta onto a serving plate. (I usually give the outside of each pudding basin a quick dip in very hot water (being careful not to get ANY liquid on the Panna Cotta surface). Then dry the outside, before tipping out). Carefully run a knife around the edge if sticking. You may also need to tap hard on the base.
- Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries, or as it is.
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