Panna Cotta — Your tips and tricks

Thought I’d try no setting agent first to see what texture resulted.

Should really have drained the yogurt overnight but it’s Greek and also broken into so a bunch of liquid had already separated, so I’m living dangerously.

Saffron, cardamom, and nuts plus sugar.

Biscoff and butter crust, so this is currently completely vegetarian, which would be a big plus.

Will let it set up for a day before cutting in.



I really like Claudia Fleming’s buttermilk panna cotta recipe. It has a lovely soft set, and restrained sweetness. I generally use 2 cups of buttermilk and 1 cup of cream so I can just buy a half pint of cream, and it comes out great.


Thank you - i prefer a soft set so this sounds good

Color me shocked. This worked out remarkably well.

The filling holds firm so that I could cut a clean slice, but isn’t technically “set” in a panna cotta or cheesecake way.

My laziness in not draining the yogurt did have a slight impact - there was syrupy liquid at the bottom of the container I had put the whole tart pan into, ie the yogurt continued to drain - through the crust :joy:. But I had baked the crust, so it didn’t sog out. (Next time I would drain the yogurt over a day or two, thoroughly.)

The biscoff crust was a nice counterpoint: shrikhand is a bit tart and not overly sweet, and the crust had a toasty, buttery sweetness that balanced the tartness very nicely.

Will continue to experiment with the others.



My only quibble with Fleming’s is that I think her recipe is too sweet. I recorded in my copy of The Last Course to cut back the sugar. Otherwise yes, her recipe is very good.
Alice Medrich has very similar ratios in terms of gelatin (both Fleming and Medrich are a bit below 1%), but she likes less sugar in hers. She has recipes for saffron and cardamom panna cotta, jasmine, and honey in Pure Dessert.
Also with less sugar and similar ratios is Russ Parsons, who wrote a great article on panna cotta:


Thanks! I am in the midst of making a yogurt panna cotta tart (in the form of a Mishti Doi Tart, which will be a twist on one of my favorite Bengali desserts).

My real problem is cookie crust, because no matter what I do something goes wrong :woman_facepalming:t2:

Today I think the butter might have been a bit shy, although I made the same tart base twice, separately, and one of them turned out perfectly. The other one… sigh. The sides fell in - and also out - because I lightly bumped it by mistake. So I did some remedial work on it and put it back to bake for a bit. Every. Single. Time. Who knew “instant” cookie crusts would be my nemesis, but I’d be able to pull of bagels :rofl:

Re the actual panna cotta: looks like the gelatin proportion varies from 1/2tsp per 1cup of liquid to 3/4tsp across recipes. I think I might stick to the low end of that because I have 3c of thick yogurt (full fat Greek drained overnight) plus 1c of whole milk. So, thicker than cream and milk. And I really don’t want a hard set.

Any thoughts? I’m not going to get to it till late tonight.


Most recipes ime are more than that. As I mentioned in my other post, 1% gelatin is a really good baseline amount for a guaranteed set but still creamy panna cotta. That’s about 3/4 tsp per cup (a tsp being 3 grams, so 3/4 tsp is 2.25 grams). You can go a bit below that, but at 1% it’s not a hard set. I used a little under 1% for my espresso panna cotta and it was juuuust spoonable. Medrich is right below 1% and Fleming a touch lower. Most recipes I see call for more than that, and those I ignore because they make hard panna cotta.


Stella Parks has a nice recipe. It’s right around 1% gelatin, which can be lowered a little bit if preferred. The sugar amount is good, and I like that she explicitly calls for salt. I add salt to all my panna cotta, so I appreciate the rare recipe that calls for it explicitly, because I do find it necessary even though practically nobody calls for it.

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This thread just sent me down a gelatin rabbit hole, so i thought I’d share this handy conversion chart in case anyone has ever struggled with sheets vs powdered!


I made this yogurt panna cotta tart with fresh citrus a few winters ago and enjoyed it.

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I made a variation on my original idea for an event today – a Mishti Doi Panna Cotta Tart to be specific.

The stars must have been aligned, because it was FANTASTIC!

I had made two tart shells, but while filling them I decided to add more filling to a single shell and set the remainder as simple panna cotta because I didn’t think I could figure out a way to transport two tarts (good call, bec I mangled the top of of even one).

2.25 tsp of gelatin for 4c dairy – 3c of very thick (drained overnight) whole greek yogurt + 1c of whole milk. Set perfectly both in the bowl and on the tart. (If it was hotter out, I might bump the gelatin slightly). It was soft but held up, no detectable jelly texture, just a nice mouthfeel.

Big hit at the event, and the hostess kept the last few slices as well as the crustless panna cotta I set separately but we didn’t actually need – turns out her almost 90-yo mother loves Mishti Doi, which made me happier than anything else (and her mom specially came out to ask who made this and thank me, which made me teary).

Crust was made of Biscoff cookies and ghee, filling had both jaggery and caramel for the toasty flavor and color.

I’ll likely repeat this for another Diwali event, and while I was thinking I could skip the base next time, I do think it added something extra so I may bumble along again with my cookie crust disaster streak.





Just gorgeous and what a lovely story to go with it!


@Shellybean The SE link led me to a potential vegetarian alternative without agar agar in the form of Blancmange.

(She uses more cornstarch than this Fannie Farmer recipe, in line with a higher gelatin proportion in her panna cotta.)

Interesting variations here and here.

I like that I can cut down portion size a lot to experiment with this.

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If you like coconut and want a cornstarch-thickened pudding, you could always try tembleque.

And if you like corn and coconut, there’s majarete.
Majarete is typically made with very starchy corn, but lots of people simply add cornstarch to make up for the lack of starchy corn.
Majarete is not as firm as tembleque so there’s no unmolding it. It’s more of a spoon dessert.
I personally like it with a light hand on the spices so I can taste the corn and coconut milk.

The tart looks delicious btw. I’m so glad it was a hit!

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Back at it, continuing the recipe testing.

Vegetarian take using cornstarch instead of gelatin (and only 1/2c dairy - half yogurt half milk) was an abject failure. I hated the texture. I’ll try it one more time with just milk, because it should just be a cornstarch pudding, right? I must’ve tripped up with the cornstarch last time.

Take 2 of the previous tart for another dinner party tomorrow — I’ve increase the proportion of gelatin very slightly, because I switched tart pans to a deeper one, and I’d like the filling to stand when cut. Hopefully I didn’t overdo it.

I reprocessed the previously-frozen tart shell so as to reform the crust in the deeper pan.

Fingers crossed, and pics tomorrow!


Well, it was bound to happen after a perfect outcome last week — FAIL!!!

Well, by my ideal standards anyway - no one else really noticed.

  1. The tart shell tasted very slightly burnt, which was obviously because of the double processing

  2. Over-gelled / too firm! I increased the gelatin very slightly because the tart was deeper and I was afraid about it slicing - 1.5 tsp for 2.75c filling (2c yogurt, 0.5c whole milk, 0.25c water for the gelatin).

At least I know exactly what I did wrong :joy:

Because you mostly use thick yogurt you can get away with less gelatin than if you were using milk and cream. Crème fraiche panna cotta similarly takes less gelatin. I’m sure people enjoyed it nonetheless!

Yeah but it was such a slight proportional change that I really didn’t think it would be sooooo much stiffer!

Live and learn.

I’ll have to make a remedial one when I get back from my trip, bec this is the crowd that can tell the difference — vs the one last week that I could actually have messed up and it wouldn’t have mattered :joy:

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This panna cotta styled for Halloween made me smile:

A bit too much gelatin for my liking, though. You can still unmold with less, particularly given the white chocolate in this.