Thursday, April 8, 2010

Coffee Panna Cotta

March 2010 198 Oh this is bad – so very, very bad.  But this is also so good, so very, very good. It’s so sinfully delicious, you may have to say three Hail Marys after this one.  It’s like eating a coffee ice cream sundae – only it’s not frozen so the flavor is accentuated even more.  Add a satiny, silky texture to the explosive flavor combo and it goes down like…. well, like only cooked cream, coffee, and melted chocolate can do.

I’ve eaten something similar several times with friends and family at my favorite restaurant in Florence – Cibreo - and I’ve never forgotten it since the first time we all tried it (along with three or four other fabulous desserts).  We were all digging in our spoons to fight for the last bite. It may not be exactly the same, but it comes darn close – and you won’t have to battle anyone for the final morsel.  Naturally at home you won’t have the ambience of the Renaissance city on the Arno (unless you live in Florence), but then again who can complain when this concoction awaits.

Come on, what are you waiting for?  Bathing suit weather is still a month away at least. You can repent later. Make that four Hail Marys and an extra large spoon.

You can make it for a crowd in a large pan:

March 2010 152 Or you can make individual portions in small containers:

March 2010 169

You’ll be licking every morsel, I promise – provided you’re a coffee lover. Even if you’re not a coffee lover, this will jingle your bells.  I never drank coffee as a child, but coffee ice cream was always my favorite and still is. If you’re still unsure, make the vanilla panna cotta I blogged about here, and serve it with either strawberries or chocolate sauce. 

But you’d be missing out on this great spoonful of goodness:

March 2010 192

If you happen to live in the Princeton, NJ area, come to the Princeton Public Library at 7 p.m. tonight to hear several local bloggers (including yours truly) talk about our favorite subject – food and the foodie places we love. The library is located at the corner of Witherspoon St. and Wiggins St.

Coffee Panna Cotta

printable recipe here

32 ounces (1 quart) heavy cream

1 T. vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar plus 2 more T.

5 teaspoons instant espresso coffee

5 T. water

3 teaspoons powdered gelatin

unsweetened cocoa powder to sprinkle on top

chocolate-covered coffee beans to decorate

a few drops of heavy cream to make heart decorations

Brush a large 32-ounce mold with oil, or 8 four-ounce individual molds.

Put the cream into a pan and add sugar and vanilla. Cook over low heat until almost boiling. Add the coffee to the water and stir until coffee is dissolved. Sprinkle the gelatin on top of the coffee mixture and let it stand for a few minutes to dissolve. You can put the bowl into a pan of low simmering water to dissolve the gelatin.

Stir some of the reserved cream into the gelatin and coffee mix, then stir that into the remainder of the cream and sugar mixture. Pour into the prepared molds and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least eight hours, preferably overnight.

When ready to pour, dip the base of the molds into hot water, but only for a few seconds. Run a butter knife around the edges and flip onto a plate (or plates if using individual molds). Sprinkle with powdered cocoa and decorate with chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Just before serving, make the chocolate sauce and pour all around the panna cotta. The little hearts are made by placing a drop of cream on the chocolate sauce, then running a toothpick or the edge of a knife down the center of the circle. Practice first because it can be a little tricky, especially after a few minutes when the chocolate starts to thicken.

Dark Chocolate Sauce

  • 6 ounces dark chocolate
  • 4 ounces water
  • 1 ounce butter 
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Put the water and sugar in a pan and heat it until the sugar dissolves. Break the chocolate into small pieces and add it to the water and sugar, along with the butter.

Take the pan off the heat and stir until all is melted and blended together. Stir in the vanilla and serve right away. Once it gets cold, it thickens a lot.

panna cotta, coffee panna cotta, desserts


  1. Cosa dire: semplicemente perfetto!!! Fa venir voglia di mangiarlo solo guardandolo!!! Brava! Sai che mio nonno era fiorentino? mi piace sentir parlare della toscana! Un bacione

  2. bathing suit weather is NOW....though this might be a one piece dessert! yum.

  3. This is one dessert I keep saying I am going to make for my husband but have not. I love coffee flavored things and this looks great!

  4. A fabulous dessert! Your panna cotta looks so delicious!



  5. I'll eat it sul Tevere it looks so tempting !! unfortunately I'm too far to come !!!

  6. OMG this looks really amazing...
    I am so making this!

  7. I adore coffee, I have a huge cup in front of me right now. 3 Hail Marys might not be enough for me if that was in my house. Sounds like fun tonight at the library!

  8. Un dessert fantastico, bisogna assolutamente che lo provi.
    Ciao Daniela.

  9. Panna cotta and coffee, what is not to just adore?????

  10. This is really a gorgeous dessert. My compliments on the recipe and the photography. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  11. This looks insanely delicious!

  12. panna cotta e caffè posso aspettare fino a domani baci Lucia

  13. oh my.. that looks amazing Linda! I'm going to have to try this recipe (or try to coax someone into making it;)

  14. There is dark chocolate involved, I am IN!! Sounds delish :)

  15. Panna Cotta, coffee, dark chocolate - I'm in. Looking for the biggest spoon I have. A bathing suit may not be in my future but this dessrt is. Wish I was in Princeton tonight. Enjoy!

  16. Hi Linda, I am disappointed to have read your post late. I would have loved to come to the library event.

    This panna cotta recipe is just wonderful - but completely indulgent! Perfect for a special occasion!

  17. Oh YUM! 1 quart of cream divided by 8 really isn't that bad (at least that's what I keep telling myself!) Love the trick to make the heart decorations.
    ps. the panel last night was fun :)

  18. great job linda - I love the magic of panna cotta!

  19. I adore Panna Cotta! After all the Easter treats I've eaten I will have to abstain until I can justify this ...maybe I'll make it for my birthday in June? It looks better than a cake!

  20. I used to buy Haagen Dasz coffee ice cream and lick the box clean! This cream is fabulous! Thanks so much!

  21. Waw!!! Your coffee panna cotta looks so fabulous!!!

    Oooh yes!! And that chocolate sauce added, ..;what a real treat!

    Many greets from sunny Brussels, Belgium!

  22. This is a refreshing spin on a dessert that's a little overdone. I do enjoy panna cotta, if done well. This qualifies as a very good panna cotta.

    PS...ate one once with gritty gelatine in it.

  23. Panna cotta is what dreams are made of. I've been doing them when in need of a easy to pull-off dessert. But everytime I try to unmold the panna cotta I've made, it always has a few nicks and cuts and sometimes it totally falls apart. Your unmolding tip here is so helpful.

    I love coffee flavored panna cotta and yours looks wonderful that I must try!

  24. We are huge panna cotta fans, gotta try your chocolate version!