Panna cotta is an elegant Italian dessert. It literally translates to ‘cooked cream’. It is a soft-set pudding, served in tiny sized portions with fresh fruits and a drizzle of fruit puree. Individually served desserts always inspire me; they are definitely more fun to eat and the panna cotta is a perfect example of this. It’s supposed to be light and creamy, yet at the same time it manages to give a smooth, melt-in-the-mouth texture.

Panna cotta is extremely simple to make. Mix together some cream, milk, and sugar and stir in gelatin and leave it to work it’s magic. The hardest part about making panna cotta is achieving the proper consistency and texture – it should be silky smooth and firm enough to retain it’s shape after a gentle wobble.

As rightly said by the judges on a recent edition of the TV show MasterChef, “Panna cotta should dance on the plate”. I’ll show you how to achieve this. I simply love this dessert!


  • Cream – 1½ cup
  • Milk – 1½ cup
  • Sugar – ⅓ cup
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Vanilla Essence – 1 tablespoon
  • Gelatin – 3 level teaspoons
  • Preparation time : 10 minutes
  • Cooking time : 5 minutes; at least 4-6 hours to set
  • Number of servings (yield) : 4


  1. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with 2 tablespoons of warm water and allow it to completely dissolve and bloom
  2. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a pan and add sugar. Heat gently while stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stir in cream and salt and bring to a simmer then take off the heat.
  3. Remove from heat as the mixture is about to boil.
  4. Add gelatin mixture to the warm cream mixture and stir well until the gelatin dissolves.
  5. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary.
  6. Grease the inside of 4 to 6 small moulds/ ramekins/ glasses and divide the mixture between them.
  7. Let the cream mixture cool to room temperature before refrigerating for a minimum of 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
  8. To turn out the panna cotta, dip your ramekins in warm water to loosen before turning out onto a serving plate.
  9. Garnish with fresh berries or simply drizzle with blueberry sauce.

Fatima Ali

I am trained to be an IT professional. I served National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) for six years after graduating from the same university. As long as I can remember, cooking good food has been my passion and it makes me happy. My cooking lessons were a bit unusual though. Back in the day when digital did not mean much, my father would record cooking shows (knorr ka kitchen, kaukab khuwaja and Zee Khana Khazana – Chef Sanjeev Kapoor) for me to watch endless times later on, before trying the recipes out. I would make brownies and cold cake almost every day while my mother was asleep. This was my way of surprising her every evening. My mother cooks amazing food too and I have tried many of the recipes written in her recipe book. I draw inspiration from a number of chefs from televised cooking shows such as Late Chef Farah, Chef Rahat, Chef Mehboob, BBC Food, Masala TV, Chef Shai, Chef Sharmeen, Master Chef Australia and my ultimate favorite Chef Shireen Anwer. I would not be as good a cook I am now without passive guidance from each one of these.