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Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta Recipe

Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta

The silky smooth, irresistibly creamy texture of panna cotta comes from combining sweet cream with gelatin. Our recipe also features raspberries and a vanilla bean, making it both a delicious seasonal treat and a fun lesson in the source of a favorite flavoring. Let the kids take charge of the recipe's magical "ta-da!" moment by having them release each dessert from its mold right before serving.

What you'll need

  • 2/3 cup raspberries, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 4 teaspoons unflavored, granulated gelatin
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon fine sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Helpful Tip:

Which Vanilla Should You Use?

Imitation Vanilla Extract: Less expensive than pure extract, imitation vanilla is a synthetic flavoring that works best when vanilla is being combined with other flavorings or spices.

Vanilla Paste: This thick mix of vanilla seeds and syrup offers the full flavor of beans and the economy and convenience of extract.

Whole Vanilla Beans: These flexible, wrinkly seed pods of the vanilla orchid, a tropical vine, are the most expensive type of vanilla but have the most intense flavor. (At the grocery store, two beans cost about $12; you can find them for less online.) They're a good option when vanilla is the primary flavor in a recipe.

Pure Vanilla Extract: This dark liquid, made by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol, has a strong natural vanilla flavor.


The raspberries in this recipe can be swapped for another in-season fruit, such as chopped strawberries or peaches. But don't use raw pineapple or kiwi - those fruits won't allow the gelatin to set.

How to make it

Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta step 1

1. Lightly oil eight 1/2 cup capacity pudding molds, ramekins or teacups. Put five raspberries in each. Transfer the molds to a baking dish.

Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta step 2

2. Pour the water into a small, heatproof bowl and sprinkle on the gelatin, distributing it evenly. Let the gelatin stand until the granules have swollen and absorbed all the liquid, about 1 minute.

Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta step 3

3. Bring a shallow pan of water to a simmer over low heat, then remove it from the stove top. Place the bowl of gelatin in the water and let the granules dissolve, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes.

Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta step 4

4. Gently flatten the vanilla bean and slit it lengthwise with a small, sharp knife (an adult's job). If the bean is long, halve it again before scraping for easier handling. Scrape the knife along the inside of each bean half to remove the seeds, then place them in a medium pan with the cream. If you're using vanilla paste, whisk it into the cream. If you're using extract, add it at step 5.

Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta step 5

5. Over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil, then remove it from the stove top. Whisk in the sugar and let it dissolve for 2 minutes. If you're using vanilla extract, add it now. Whisk in the gelatin mixture, then gradually whisk in the buttermilk.

Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta step 6

6. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Pour it evenly into the molds. Let the dishes cool for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta step 7

7. Using a single sheet of plastic wrap, cover the surface of each dessert to prevent a skin from forming. Chill the desserts until firm, for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta step 8

8. To serve the panna cotta, remove the plastic wrap and turn out each dessert onto a plate (if needed, loosen the edges with a small metal spatula or butter knife). Garnish with fresh raspberries, if you like. Serves 8.