5 Tips for Making the Perfect Panna Cotta


Spray Your Molds

If you’re truly worried about turning out your panna cotta from a mold, you could always serve it in simple dishes. ©Radvaner/photocuisine/Corbis
If you’re truly worried about turning out your panna cotta from a mold, you could always serve it in simple dishes. ©Radvaner/photocuisine/Corbis

If you plan to unmold your panna cotta for presentation, be sure to chill it for about four hours before you try to release it. And if you run into any trouble, there are a few tricks to try if you encounter some stubbornness from your delicate dessert.

The perfect panna cotta molds are small, only about 5 or 6 ounces (to hold about 4 ounces, or a half a cup, of your mixture). You'll always turn out perfectly-shaped panna cotta if you give yourself a little insurance before filling those molds. Oil each mold with a neutral, flavorless oil -- and use a light hand while doing so -- for best results.

Additionally, run a knife around the edge of each to release each from its mold; or, dip each mold for just a few seconds at a time into a shallow container of hot water before turning out.

And if your panna cotta just won't release, what's the harm in eating it out of its mold? Avoid this whole problem by pouring and setting your dessert into containers intended for serving.

Author's Note: 5 Tips for Making Perfect Panna Cotta

Did you know you can still enjoy panna cotta if you're a vegetarian or vegan? In addition to substituting a non-dairy milk alternative instead of cream, also try substituting gelatin with a gelatin alternative, including agar (also known as agar-agar and kanten), carrageen or Irish moss -- just keep in mind that substituting this flavorless vegan-friendly ingredient for gelatin will mean your panna cotta won't be quite as jiggly as one that's cooked with traditional ingredients. Still tasty!

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More Great Links


  • Bradley, Susan S. "Mastering Panna Cotta -- with Six Variations." Luna Cafe. June 19, 2011. (May 9, 2014) http://thelunacafe.com/mastering-panna-cotta-with-six-variations/
  • Durand, Faith. "How To Make Panna Cotta." The Kitchn. Feb. 12, 2014. (May 9, 2014) http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-panna-cotta-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-200070
  • Durand, Faith. "Panna cotta: Easy to make, easy to adapt to dairy-free, vegan diets (recipe)." The Times-Picayune. March 11, 2014. (May 9, 2014) http://www.nola.com/food/index.ssf/2014/03/panna_cotta_easy_to_make_easy.html
  • Ho, Emily. "Gelling Without Gelatin: Vegetarian and Vegan Substitutes." The Kitchn. May 16, 2013. (May 9, 2014) http://www.thekitchn.com/vegetarian-alternatives-to-gelatin-189478
  • Lebovitz, David. "How To Use Gelatin." April 4, 2009. (May 9, 2014) http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/04/how-to-use-gelatin/
  • Parsons, Russ. "The California Cook: Cracking the code of panna cotta." Los Angeles Times. June 16, 2012. (May 9, 2014) http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/16/food/la-fo-calcook-20120616
  • Taste. "Gelatine leaves." Page 13. November 2011. (May 9, 2014) http://www.taste.com.au/how+to/articles/6391/gelatine+leaves
  • UCSB ScienceLine - University of California Santa Barbara. "Why can't you put pineapple pieces into jello?" (May 9, 2014) http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=1968
  • Weisenthal, Lauren. "Sweet Technique: How to Make Panna Cotta." Serious Eats. July 18, 2011. (May 9, 2014) http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07/sweet-technique-how-to-make-panna-cotta.html


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