Nutella and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Panna Cotta is one of my favourite desserts to make because it’s really simple to put together and it tastes incredible. I love the texture of panna cotta; it’s soft, creamy and light which always amazes people because it is basically just full-fat cream and gelatine! In reality it is quite a sinful dessert but it doesn’t weigh you down; you feel like you’re in heaven when you eat it.

For Valentine’s Day I wanted to make my partner something he really loves which is the pure and simple flavour of vanilla-bean panna cotta. I, on the other hand, love the flavours of hazelnuts and chocolate. So I thought pairing vanilla bean and nutella would be a great combination for a dessert. Our tastes combined; just like the two of us, to form a heart.

My favourite recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz. It is practically fool-proof and you can make all sorts of delicious flavours! Once, I added lemon and orange zest and cinnamon… It tasted just like a Crema Catalana (Spanish Creme Brulee) just minus the toffee. Anyway, I digress. You can make this recipe less cream-heavy by using half milk instead but I haven’t actually tried that. I’m of the opinion that if you’re going to indulge in a dessert of this sort you may as well go the full hog right?  I also use thickened cream; it’s cream that already has a small amount of gelatine in it to make it easier to whip so I changed the amount of powdered gelatine from the original recipe. So keep that in mind if you’re using pure cream and/or milk!

The texture and the flavour of the Nutella layer is phenomenal. It is like eating Nutella mousse. I think I could eat it all day! It doesn’t taste like a watered-down version of Nutella at all; in fact the cream seems to be the perfect carrier to show off the flavours! Vanilla-bean panna cotta is a very classic flavour which actually enhances the cream. So I think the combination of both is quite perfect!


Nutella and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Serves 2 – 4

Nutella layer:

  • 1 cup (250ml) thickened cream
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp powdered gelatine
  • 1 ½ tbs cold water
  • ½ cup Nutella

Vanilla layer:

  • 1 cup (250ml) thickened cream
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp powdered gelatine
  • 1 ½ tbs cold water
  • ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste

First make the nutella layer. In a jug that you can easily pour from, sprinkle the gelatine over the water and let it set for a few minutes. In a saucepan over low heat, warm the cream and stir in the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, stir in the Nutella and mix well. Do not let the cream boil. Pour the cream mixture into the gelatine and mix well to ensure all the gelatine has melted.

Pour the mixture into either two wine glasses or goblets or decorative bowls. You could also divide the mixture into small ramekins for more serves. If you want the panna cotta to set diagonally, tilt the glass and secure it until it sets. Immediately refrigerate and let it set for a few hours.

To make the vanilla layer, follow the instructions again but instead of adding nutella add the vanilla bean paste instead. Wait until the mixture has cooled down to room temperature before pouring over the Nutella layer. If you want this layer to be slanted as well, do the same thing with the glass and make sure you let it set for several hours.


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