Panna Cotta & Fresh Berry Experiment

I don’t know what possessed us to make panna cotta, as neither of us has ever even tried it. It actually turned out to be kind of a disaster. We’ve been super busy lately, so the cooking has been getting done pretty late. This means dessert-cooking starts even later. Anyways, I think it was around 9 that I finally got around to tackling this recipe. I got through everything and stuck those suckers in the fridge ASAP. We kept checking like every 30 minutes – we really wanted to give them a try! Well it was nearly midnight and they were not setting in the least. Oh well, maybe those 3 hours really were supposed to mean 5. . . Or maybe not. The next morning they looked just as liquidy as they had when we put them in. Bummer!

Since those berries are so darn expensive, we were determined to try again. The next night it wasn't until about 10 that I got to start on recipe number 2. I still gave them a check before bed & they were looking good! Surely enough, this batch was set by the morning. We were so excited, we had to have one for breakfast. After topping the little treats with our berry mixture (which thankfully we didn't have to remake), we dug in! And ewww! Huge disappointment! I don't know what they are supposed to taste like, but we sure didn't like the taste of these things. I'm not even really sure how to describe it, other than odd texture (which made me think of flan) and very sweet flavor. I am curious as to if this is how panna cotta is supposed to taste, or if we really just messed up x 2. Anyone ever had it or tried to make it? Anyways, you may be wondering why we're posting this creation since we weren't very pleased with the outcome. Well truthfully, it was so much effort (we even had to go out and buy some ramekins!) & those berries just had to be shown off :) And we wanted to warn you that panna cotta is not very good (well at least this version). We topped the little guys with Belgian butter waffle cookies. At least those were good! Incase you're curious, the recipe below is recipe #2 - so it does set if you are daring enough to try it!


  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) coconut milk
  • 8 packets Splenda (or other sucralose-based sugar substitute)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon


  1. Place water in small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin; set aside.
  2. Place coconut milk, Splenda, powdered sugar and vanilla in medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat; stir to dissolve sugar and smooth out coconut milk. Do not boil. Add gelatin mixture; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
  3. Pour coconut milk mixture evenly into four ramekins (aka. custard cups). Refrigerate about 3 hours or until set.
  4. Meanwhile, combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mash berries. Store in refrigerator until panna cotta is ready.
  5. To unmold panna cotta, run knife around outside edges of cups. Place cups in hot water about 30 seconds. Put serving plate over cup; invert and shake until panna cotta drops onto plate. Top each with the berry topping and any leftover berries. Refrigerate leftovers.


Erica said...

Well- they're certainly look delicious! Very pretty with the colorful berries. Oh well- you win some you lose some ;)

♥peachkins♥ said...

your panna cotta sure looks delicious for something that isn't. and I love your plate..

Donna-FFW said...

So sorry to hear you didnt enjoy this. May I just tell you how pretty the photots are however?

Chef E said...

I have not tried making this dessert yet, and hubby would love it! Looks like you tackled a yummy dish and won!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

Oh no! So disappointing! At least you had some nice berries to console yourselves with, I guess. I can only hope you had some ice cream in the freezer as well ;)

It is quite a curious recipe that you have, as every panna cotta recipe I've come across, even coconut ones, has cream in it (hence the name). There is a nice selection of panna cotta recipes here, if you're interested..

Despite the taste disappointment, I'm glad to see your photos are beautiful as always! And I love the plate!

Debbie said...

Sorry it was a disappointment but it certainly looks delicious! I've never made this....

Unknown said...

i've tried a few panna cotta recipes that i absolutely adore! (i've linked to them on my blog if you're interested in trying again :)) those berries are gorgeous :)

Teanna said...

I'm sorry you didn't like it! Panna cotta is not for everyone! The texture is supposed to be really light and airy, smooth and creamy. Maybe you should try a blanc manger? It is kind of like panna cotta but with much more texture - it is made with ground almonds and heavy cream and it just amaaaazing. It is huge in France, I guess, but not big over here at all! Definitely give it a try! Here is a great recipe -

Christo Gonzales said...

like conor says it seems to be lacking in dairy - I think the cream gives it a smoother feel and less like a gelatin....perhaps more of the 'butter' from the coconut milk would help if you are trying to stay away from is flan like thats for sure and that wont change - it is usually a fast dessert since gelatin sets pretty quickly....on a better note - they sure do look good!

Unknown said...

I hate when I spend a lot of time on something and it doesn't turn out the way I want or expected. =) It looks beautiful though!!

lisaiscooking said...

Hmm, the Splenda could be the culprit here as it may not have behaved properly with the gelatin. The texture should be a little like flan but maybe softer. I made a saffron panna cotta awhile back and loved it. Here's the link:

grace said...

do you think the splenda usage had anything to do with the results? i find that it fouls up a lot of dessert recipes. regardless, it's lovely to behold, and the waffle chips/cookies are great. :)

Rose said...

Panna Cotta is one of those things that I just can't get the hang of liking... I have an aversion (texturally) to certain things like this and rice pudding... I try... but...FAIL!

Pics looks great though.


Esi said...

I've never made panna cotta and I don't remember ever eating it either. Sorry it was a fail.

Hornsfan said...

I've done the panna cotta thing before - mine had strawberries and a balsalmic-honey reduction as the topping, I'll have to dust that off and make it soon, it was tasty!

Delicious Dishings said...

I LOVE panna cotta. Please, please give it another try before writing it off. I think I made a recipe by Giada that turned out really well, except that it used a lot of honey -- so it was more honey- than vanilla-flavored. Also, it's great with chocolate sauce.

I think David Lebovitz has a recipe for it on his site, but I haven't tried it yet. Just keep in mind that really good panna cotta is thick and custardy (thicker than creme brulee) not light and mousse-like (in my opinion).

None of the recipes I've tried have had coconut milk or Splenda. And this sounds really sad, but if there's a Macaroni Grill near you, order the panna cotta with chocolate there -- it's really delicious!

Marta said...

Oh no, I'm sorry you had a bad result with panna cotta... I say keep trying, though, because it's such a great little summer dessert to whip up in a hurry and wow guests with!

The Cooking Photographer said...

I think I see your problem with them being weird and to sweet. You used splenda. It messes it up because there are so few flavors to contend with.

Are one of you diabetic? If not try again with sugar, or even some honey instead (but much less honey than sugar).

They look stunningly beautiful.

Gloria Baker said...

WOW!! I love this look absolutely amazing and yummy!! gloria

Cristian Borod said...

It sure looks delicious!

Jackie at said...

I'm not a Splenda fan. I used to make sweet versions of my desserts with Splenda for my husband's grandpa who was diabetic. I really didn't like the after-taste of Splenda, ehh. So it might be it. Also you want to make sure to well-balance the proportion of gelatin and liquid so that the texture is not too viscous and gelatinous. I don't know what would be the proportions with gelatin since I use panna cotta. Check out some of my versions at
and for the savory version

Juliana said...

I am sorry that you were disappointed...but it sure looks yummie!

Leslie said...

That sucks. I have been wanting to make it..but I suppose not this recipe. LOL
But you sure made it look pretty

fiOrdivanilla said...

wow... is a splendid experiment..!

Olga said...

I've never had one either, but have been fascinated by these. Too bad you did not like the taste. I'm very impressed you gave it two tries!

Well, at least the photos are gorgeous as ever.

Amanda said...

You are adventurous. No way I would be making dessert at 9 or 10 at night! LOL Sorry they didn't work out. I've never attempted panna cotta or tried it either. I never have because it reminds me of flan, which I don't like. The texture is too ... thinking ... slimy, in a solid gelatin kind of way? Eew.

It LOOKS gorgeous though! :)

Madison said...

I found this recipe and it is great! Very simple to make. You can also substitute the vanilla extract for almond.
• 1/3 cup skim milk
• 1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
• 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Pour milk into a small bowl, and stir in the gelatin powder. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan, stir together the heavy cream and sugar, and set over medium heat. Bring to a full boil, watching carefully, as the cream will quickly rise to the top of the pan. Pour the gelatin and milk into the cream, stirring until completely dissolved. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and pour into six individual ramekin dishes.
3. Cool the ramekins uncovered at room temperature. When cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight before serving.

Chats the Comfy Cook said...

Every time I look at this photo, I think cool, even it if it is the 90's.

Anonymous said...

The Coconut Milk and Splenda is the culprit! Heavy Cream and Cane Sugar if you don't want to use refined sugar would be best.

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