I’m always on the lookout for impressive looking desserts that are deceptively easy to make. I reckon this is the winner in that category! No fancy equipment required – all you need to get this right is a cupcake/muffin tin and small glass jars.

Panna cotta is a delicious Italian dessert which is very simply a sweetened, set cream. Ask any chef about panna cotta and the word “wobble” will almost certainly come up. The perfect panna cotta will be set firm and hold its shape but should not be too jelly-like. It has a beautiful, creamy melt-in-the-mouth texture. I did a little wobble experiment to work out the best ratio of milk and cream, before settling on these quantities.

I prefer using powdered gelatine as its easier to control the exact quantity depending on the size of the batch you are making, but if you are used to leaf gelatine then check the package instructions for how much to use.
Nothing beats real vanilla beans as far as flavour goes, but the seeds tend to settle and disrupt the lovely clean boundary between the jelly and the cream, so an extract works better here.

The fruit jelly nicely offsets the richness of the panna cotta. I don’t mean the luminous, artificial jelly you had as a kid, this is more of a softly set fruit purée. You can use any fruit purée you like, just be sure it’s smooth and free from seeds.

As the panna cotta is the star of the show, I like a 1/3 jelly to 2/3 panna cotta ratio. I used 150ml yoghurt jars.

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Ingredients:
(Makes 6 x 150ml jars)

Raspberry jelly:
300g raspberrries
100ml sugar
100ml water
10ml powdered gelatine

Panna cotta:
250ml cream
250ml full cream milk
70ml sugar
5ml vanilla extract
10ml powdered gelatine
30ml water

Method:

  • For the raspberry jelly, place raspberries, sugar and half the water into a saucepan over low heat.
  • Slowly bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  • Allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes
  • In the meantime, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining water in a small bowl and allow to sponge for 5 minutes.
  • Add the sponged gelatine to the raspberry mixture and stir well until it’s all dissolved.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove all the seeds (I sieve it twice to make sure it’s extra smooth).
  • Leave to cool to room temperature .
  • Place your jars at an angle in your muffin tin as shown and carefully pour in the cooled raspberry mixture.
  • Carefully place into the fridge and leave to set for 3-4 hours.Panna Cotta-081 Panna Cotta-083 Panna Cotta-085 Panna Cotta-103Panna Cotta-108 Panna Cotta-111 Panna Cotta-112Panna Cotta-118
  • For the Panna cotta, sprinkle the gelatine over the water and allow to sponge for 5 minutes.
  • Heat the cream, milk and sugar on low heat until it just comes to the boil, then remove from heat and add the sponged gelatine. Mix well until completely dissolved.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Strain into a measuring jug and cover with clingfilm. Push it directly on the liquid (no air in-between).
  • Allow to cool completely to room temperature, then very gently pour into the jars over the fruit jelly. (If the mixture is still warm, it will melt the raspberry jelly!)
  • Refrigerate for a further 3-4 hours until set.
  • Serve with shortbread fingers.Panna Cotta-123 Panna Cotta-126 Panna Cotta-130 Panna Cotta-143Panna Cotta-153Panna Cotta-157-Edit Panna Cotta-178-Edit