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Cafe Latte Panna Cotta

Cafe Latte Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is a very simple dessert to make, and a very elegant one at that. The basic panna cotta is a sweetened cream mixture that is just barely held together with a bit of gelatin, giving it an extremely tender (not jello-like) texture and a very light mouthfeel. A panna cotta can be flavored with all kinds of ingredients, but cream or half and half is a primary component of most recipes and you definitely want to get the richness from the cream in the finished product.

This is a Cafe Latte Panna Cotta. I would call it a coffee panna cotta, but the flavor of the cream is such a nice balance to the coffee that it really is reminiscent of a well made latte! To make the dessert, gelatin is dissolved in a bit of coffee, then cream and sugar are added in and heated until the mixture is very smooth. There is just enough gelatin to hold everything together and every bite feels quite luxurious on the tongue. It has a great coffee flavor and a nice sweetness to it that ties the coffee in with the cream. You could simply use some regular coffee from your coffee maker for this recipe, but to bring out that coffee flavor a bit more, I recommend making it a bit stronger than usual so it stands out from the creamy base. Either add more grounds to your coffee when you brew it, or add a teaspoon or two of instant coffee to give it more body. If you have an espresso machine, replace a bit of the coffee with a shot of espresso!

I poured my panna cotta into little espresso glasses to serve them, which meant I got quite a few servings from this batch. It is great for a dinner party or other gathering. Shot glasses will work just as well as espresso cups. Feel free to divide yours into larger ramekins if you prefer a slightly larger serving per person.

Cafe Latte Panna Cotta
1 cup strong, brewed coffee
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp unflavored gelatin

In a small saucepan, combine coffee and gelatin. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until gelatin has dissolved. Add in half and half (or half milk and half cream), sugar and vanilla. Stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar has dissolved, bring mixture almost to a simmer. Cream will steam, but not bubble.
Strain mixture into a measuring cup or other dish with a spout. Pour into espresso glasses or other 2-oz ramekins and chill until gelatin has set, at least 2 hours.

Makes 12 small servings.

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  • the wicked noodle
    October 4, 2010

    I’m still amazed that I have yet to try making panna cotta. This looks like the perfect recipe to try!

  • the blissful baker
    October 4, 2010

    what a lovely, elegant dessert! my coffee fanantic suitemate would love this.

  • The Blue-Eyed Bakers
    October 4, 2010

    Espresso cups?! What an adorable, dainty and delicious dessert! We’re kind of addicted to coffee – and coupled with our absolute love of all things sweet – this looks like a perfect dessert for us!

  • Rachel
    October 4, 2010

    I had no idea panna cotta was so easy to make! Ah, the wonders of gelatin. This is going on the menu for my next dinner gathering.

  • Family Cooking
    October 4, 2010

    I have been meaning to make pannacotta for a very long time now – and I think this recipe is the final push. It’s sounds so easy and yummy. Thanks for the nudge.

  • abbey
    October 5, 2010

    wow! this is very unique kind of panna cotta!

  • Ester
    October 5, 2010

    mmmmm I really need to make panna cotta soon! You have a nice blog.

  • Judy
    October 5, 2010

    Love coffee! Bookmarked!

  • Nutmeg Nanny
    October 5, 2010

    This looks perfect! Yum 🙂

  • Laura
    October 5, 2010

    Your directions don’t indicate where to add the two cups of coffee. Are you supposed to dissolve the gelatin in the coffee before heating it with the sugar??

  • Patricia Scarpin
    October 6, 2010

    I’ve been in a panna cotta kick lately and love this flavor you came up with, Nic! Lovely way to serve it, too.

  • Cara-Mia
    October 11, 2010

    I’m also confused as to when to add the coffee…

  • niki
    October 11, 2010

    Looks like the first sentence should say ‘In a small saucepan, combine coffee and gelatin.’ as later on you add the half and half, sugar, and vanilla.

  • devo
    December 8, 2012

    Needs more gelatin!

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