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espresso syrup being poured over a vanilla bean panna cotta on white plate

Vanilla Panna Cotta

The Home Cook's Kitchen
This vanilla panna cotta is creamy, smooth, light and beautiful summer dessert. Made using real vanilla bean paste, and paired with the smoothest espresso syrup! This dessert is great for a date night or fancy dinner with friends. 
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Resting Time 6 hrs
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 people
Calories 630 kcal


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2.5 tablespoon cold water
  • 1.5 teaspoon gelatin powder
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste

Espresso Syrup

  • ¼ cup espresso
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


  • Sprinkle gelatin powder over cold water in a heat-proof, ceramic mug and let stand for 5 minutes. This is called 'blooming'. 
  • Place some hot water in a saucepan, and place the cup in the pot. The water should come up about halfway on the mug. 
  • Gently stir the gelatin mixture to dissolve the gelatin. The gelatin should not be grainy and should turn clear. 
  • Add cream, milk and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat gently over low to medium heat for 10-12 minutes, until it just starts to simmer, not boiling. Stir occasionally as it starts to heat, and more frequently as it gets closer to temperature.
  • Remove from heat, and set aside. 
  • Add gelatin and vanilla to milk, cream and sugar and gently whisk to ensure gelatin has dissolved completely and vanilla bean paste is combined. 
  • Cool the mixture by placing the saucepan in a large bowl of cold water to reduce the temperature quickly. This will minimise separation in the final product. 
  • Lightly spray two oven-proof ramekins with cooking spray, wiping out excess spray with paper towel. Pour the mixture into the ramekin and set aside to cool for 10 minutes before covering with foil and transferring to the fridge.  
  • Leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving.

Espresso Syrup

  • Heat espresso, brown sugar and vanilla bean paste over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. 
  • Bring up to medium heat and simmer 8-10 minutes, or until sauce thickens. 
  • Set aside to cool completely.


  • Gently slide a knife around the edges of the panna cotta to loosen, and flip onto a serving plate. 
  • Drizzle over espresso syrup and serve. Optional - serve with fresh strawberries and a sprig of mint. 


Extensive recipe notes in main body of blog post