Panna Cotta With Figs and Berries

Panna Cotta With Figs and Berries

The classic Italian panna cotta — cooked cream — is a pure white custard set with gelatin instead of eggs or starch. It can be prepared up to 2 days in advance, in individual ramekins or a larger mold. In season, it is lovely served with a compote of figs and berries. At other times of year, use other fruits or a simple fruit coulis. Alternatively, a caramel sauce or a bittersweet chocolate sauce drizzled over the panna cotta can be quite nice. Wait until just before serving to unmold.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half over medium-low until it just begins to simmer. Turn off heat. Add sugar, stir to dissolve, then add lemon peel, salt and almond extract, and let steep while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, put gelatin in a small bowl and add 3 tablespoons cold water. Let dissolve, mashing with a spoon to prevent lumps, about 5 minutes. Add to the half-and-half mixture, and whisk well to incorporate.
  3. Step 3

    Using a fine-meshed sieve, strain into a measuring cup with a spout. Pour mixture into 4 (4-ounce) ramekins, tea cups or wine glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. (It is a good idea to make the panna cotta several hours ahead or up to 2 days in advance.)
  4. Step 4

    Heat oven to 400 degrees. Make the compote: In a small, wide skillet, a gratin dish, or a pie pan, arrange the berries, then the figs cut-side-up. Sprinkle with the granulated sugar and the kirsch or Calvados. Roast, uncovered until juicy, with most of the liquid evaporated, about 40 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. Step 5

    To serve panna cotta, run a knife around edge of the ramekins, then invert them over a soup plate or dessert dish. Shake gently to unmold. Surround panna cotta with fruit and roasting juices. (Alternatively, serve in the ramekin or wine glass with fruit on top.)