Indulge with this Easy Panna Cotta Recipe

This deceptively easy dessert only sounds fancy. The panna cotta mixture cooks in just minutes and doesn’t even require an oven (though it does take several hours to set in the fridge, so plan ahead). We love the taste of the sweet-tart oranges against the cream and crunch of the quinoa crispies, but the topping is entirely optional. You can top it with fresh berries or your favorite jam. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating it plain. 

Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta Recipe

Serves 4

Shopping List
For the panna cotta:
1 organic Meyer or other lemon
½ vanilla bean
¾ teaspoon powdered unflavored gelatin
¼ cup organic cane sugar
1½ cups heavy cream 
1 cup organic crème fraîche or sour cream
¼ teaspoon salt

For the toppings:
1 organic blood orange
1 organic Cara Cara orange 
2 sprigs organic fresh mint, optional
⅓ cup quinoa crispies

Fine-toothed grater, whisk, fine-mesh strainer, 1-quart measuring cup, 2 small bowls, medium bowl, optional, medium sauce pot, 4 ramekins or small glasses or glass jars

1. Prep the ingredients

  • Zest half the lemon. 
  • Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds; set aside the bean and seeds.
  • Place 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl; sprinkle the powdered gelatin on top and allow to bloom, 3 to 5 minutes. 
  • From the ¼ cup sugar, measure out 1 teaspoon and set aside for the oranges.

2. Make the panna cotta (at least 5 hours before serving)

In a medium sauce pot over low heat, combine the cream, crème fraîche, ¼ cup (minus 1 teaspoon) sugar, vanilla bean and half the seeds, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and salt and bring to a simmer, gently whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the bloomed gelatin until dissolved. 
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a 1-quart measuring cup and strain the warm panna cotta mixture into the cup, discarding the solids.  
Pour the mixture into ramekins or glasses, dividing the mixture evenly. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate until set, for at least 5 hours or overnight.

3. Prep the oranges (20 minutes before serving)

  • Using your hands or a sharp knife, peel the oranges; working over a medium bowl, cut along both sides of each membrane to release the segments into the bowl. Alternatively, cut the fruit in half crosswise and separate each half into segments. Discard any seeds. 
  • If using, strip the mint leaves from the stems; thinly slice the leaves. 

To the medium bowl with the oranges, add the remaining vanilla bean seeds and 1 teaspoon sugar. Toss to coat and set aside. 

Transfer the ramekins to a serving plate, spoon over the citrus segments, sprinkle with the quinoa crispies and, if using, the mint, and serve. 

Nutrition per serving: Calories: 570, Protein: 7g (14% DV), Fiber: 2g (8% DV), Total Fat: 43g (66% DV), Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.5g, Saturated Fat: 27g (135% DV), Cholesterol: 140mg (47% DV), Sodium: 180mg (8% DV), Carbohydrates: 39g (13% DV), Total Sugars: 22g, Added Sugars: 13g (26% DV). Not a significant source of trans fat.

Bonus recipe—ingredients not included in box.