Panna Cotta With Balsamic Strawberries

Panna Cotta With Balsamic Strawberries – recipe by Ina Garten

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made with cream, yogurt, gelatin and sugar. The cream and sugar is boiled and gelatin is added allowing it to set like a custard. I had never heard of this dessert and discovered it  in my quest to find gluten free and egg free desserts for my daughter who had gluten and egg allergies. I had made coeur a la creme (another gluten and egg free Ina Garten recipe) once too many times and was looking for something new. Panna cotta was perfect.

So the first time I made it, we were just bowled over by the flavors. My daughter loved it so much that I had to make it for her back to back for a week. It is light, creamy and so smooth. Even though she has outgrown her allergies, this dessert like coeur a la creme remains a family favorite!


  • 1/2 packet (1 teaspoon) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 pints (4 cups) sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated lemon zest, for serving


In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on 1 1/2 tablespoons of cold water. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to dissolve. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup cream, the yogurt, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds.

Heat the remaining 3/4 cup of cream and the 1/3 cup of sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Off the heat, add the softened gelatin to the hot cream and stir to dissolve.

Pour the hot cream- gelatin mixture into the cold cream-yogurt mixture and stir to combine.

Pour into 4 (6 to 8 ounce) ramekins or custard cups and refrigerate uncovered until cold.

When the panna cottas are thoroughly chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Combine the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and pepper 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving. Set aside at room temperature.

To serve, run a small knife around each dessert in the ramekin and dip the bottom of each ramekin quickly in a bowl of hot water. Invert each ramekin onto a dessert plate and surround the panna cotta with strawberries. Dust lightly with freshly grated lemon zest and serve.

 I set the panna cotta in wine glasses and decorate it with strawberries for a more elegant look. 

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