perfect for coffee lovers

Affogato Panna Cotta

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Panna Cotta is one of the most famous and traditional Italian desserts nowadays, even if it has never been mentioned in a cookbook before the 1960s. Discover more about this delicious dessert from Italy and have a try at this delicious Affogato Panna Cotta recipe, perfect for coffee lovers.

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What is Panna Cotta?

Panna Cotta is one of the most famous and traditional Italian desserts, especially in the northern Italian region of Piedmont, where it is believed to have been invented. The sweet, silky pudding-like dessert has never been mentioned in a cookbook before the 1960s, but has since gained worldwide recognition and can be found in nearly every traditional Italian restaurant.

Even though Panna Cotta means "cooked milk" in Italian, the main ingredients of cream, sugar, milk, vanilla and gelatin, are heated just enough to dissolve. To get the pudding-like consistency, it must be refrigerated for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. Making it a perfect dessert to prepare in advance, when you are receiving several guests.

Since the basic recipe is fairly simple, there is a great number of delicious recipe variations for panna cotta. Whether fresh fruit, creamy caramel sauces, sweet vanilla or dark chocolate, panna cotta tastes amazing in all variations and flavors. Give it a try or check out our recipe for the Affogato Panna Cotta.

Affogato Panna Cotta

A little coffee is all you need to turn a regular Panna Cotta into an Affogato Panna Cotta. For this recipe though, we'll be adding a few extra ingredients like chocolate and amaretto liqueur to make it extra delicious.

This recipe takes a few hours as you wait for mixtures to cool in the fridge, so we recommend starting in the morning so you can serve it up later in the day.

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Here's what you'll need for an Affogato Panna Cotta:

  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 600 ml / 20 oz. thickened cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 120 ml / 4 oz. amaretto liqueur OR caramel-flavored coffee syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean pulp
  • 6 gelatine leaves
  • 100 g white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup of brewed espresso

Here's how you do it:

Step 1: Place your dark chocolate, half the heavy cream, half of your milk, a pinch of sugar, a couple of drops of liqueur, and a drop of vanilla extract in a saucepan. Cook while stirring over low heat until chocolate has melted and sugar has dissolved - about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Halve your gelatin sheet and lay one half in a bowl. Cover with cold water, and set aside for 2 minutes to soak. Once soaked, squeeze the excess liquid out of the gelatin sheets, pour in the mixture from the saucepan, and stir until the gelatin dissolves.

Step 3: Place a RIEDEL O Glass glass in a small tin or cup at a slight angle and transfer the mixture into it. Place the glass in the fridge until the mixture sets - about an hour.

Step 4: For the second half of the recipe, place the white chocolate in a clean saucepan with the remaining heavy cream, milk, vanilla extract, another pinch of sugar, and half the remaining liqueur. Stir for about 5 minutes over low heat until chocolate has melted and sugar has dissolved.

Step 5: Repeat step two with the remaining gelatin and newly stirred mixture, but this time leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes once the gelatin has dissolved.

Step 6: Place your RIEDEL glass on a baking sheet and pour the cooled cream on top of your first mixture. This is your Panna Cotta. Place in the fridge for 4 hours to chill.

Step 7: This is the part that turns your Panna Cotta an Affogato Panna Cotta. Add your espresso shot, plus your remaining sugar and liqueur to a saucepan and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens slightly. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.

Step 8: Once cooled, pour your coffee mixture over the Panna Cotta in your RIEDEL glass, add some whipped cream and a chocolate flake as toppings, grab a spoon, and enjoy.

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Tips & tricks for the perfect Panna Cotta

Making Panna Cotta is very easy, but there are a few things that can turn the silky creamy dessert into a clumpy and sticky mass. We are here to help you, follow these tricks to always get the perfect result!

The right balance of fat and gelatin

One of the most important things to consider, while making Panna Cotta is the right balance between fat and gelatin. If you are using a larger amount of liquid or if you replace cream with milk, soy milk or any other plant-based milk, the amount of gelatin needs to be adjusted upwards.

Simmer, don’t boil!

As we already explained, Panna Cotta means “cooked milk” in Italian. However, panna cotta should never be cooked, please make sure to use low heat. The high heat would destroy the gelatin and as a result, the mixture would not set. Keep in mind when cooking Panna Cotta: Simmer, don’t boil!

No more clumps!

There is nothing more frustrating than having small clumps of gelatin in your delicious Panna Cotta. Make sure to follow these steps to ensure a smooth consistency.

If you use gelatin sheets, let them soak in cold water until they are bloomed. Then squeeze the excess liquid out of the gelatin sheets, before using it.

If you use gelatin powder or granulate, sprinkle the powder over cold water and do not add all at once as it won’t dissolve properly.

When the gelatin has bloomed properly, add it to the warm mixture. Never to the cold as it will form lumps. To increase the chance of no clumps, you can pour the mixture through a sieve, before portioning it.

Attention with Pineapple, Kiwis and more

Some fruits like pineapples and kiwis do not go well with gelatin, as they contain enzymes, that break down the gelatin. If you would like to prepare your Panna Cotta with these fruits make sure to cook these fruits beforehand, before adding the gelatin.