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Low-fat Panna Cotta


Authentic Italian panna cotta is quite high in fat and kilojoules, but in this lighter version some of the cream is replaced by milk, making it a viable dessert option for those following a low-fat lifestyle. It is just as tasty though!  Serve as is or with a fruit or chocolate sauce for a dreamy dessert.  Scroll down for the recipe for Coffee Panna Cotta.

500 ml milk
1 cinnamon stick or strip of lemon peel
50 ml sugar or xylitol
15 ml gelatine
50 ml cold water
few drops almond essence
250 ml cream, stiffly beaten

Chocolate sauce OR
± 1 cup (250 ml) blueberries, raspberries or strawberries
+/- 100 g coarsely chopped chocolate or any flaked chocolate bar preferred OR
250 ml f
ruit sauce, e.g. raspberry, strawberry, blackcurrant, etc.

  1. Place the milk into a saucepan with the cinnamon stick or lemon peel and bring to boil.  Remove from heat as soon as it boils and stir in the sugar. 
  2. Place the gelatine into a 500 ml ovenproof bowl or jug and cover with the water.  Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds – 1 minute or stand over the steam of simmering water until melted.
  3. Stir the gelatine into the hot milk, remove the cinnamon stick or lemon peel and pour into a bowl to cool.
  4. Stand the bowl in a basin with water and ice or refrigerate until the mixture just starts to set at the sides.  Stir gently from time to time until softly set.
  5. Beat the cream until stiff and beat it into the partly set milk mixture until evenly blended.
  6. Pour into 6 to 8 ramekin dishes into stemmed bowls or glasses, ready for serving.
  7. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving from the stemmed bowls or glasses or loosen the sides and carefully turn out the moulded desserts onto a large platter or individual plates.
  8. To prepare the chocolate drizzle, melt 50 g dark chocolate with 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of cream in the microwave on Medium for 30 seconds or until the chocolate has softened. Mix well with a teaspoon to create a glaze and use to garnish the serving plates or drizzle over the Pannacotta.
  9. Alternatively decorate with fruit sauce or chocolates.

6 to 8 servings. 


Coffee Panna Cotta

375 ml cream
125 ml milk
50 ml sugar
15 ml gelatine powder
150 ml strong coffee for instance Espresso OR
150 ml boiling water mixed with 15 ml strong instant coffee granules
50 ml Kahlua or similar coffee liqueur

Garnish (optional)
125 ml  whipped cream
chocolate drizzle (see below) or chocolates (e.g. Cadbury Whispers)

  1. Place the cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  2. Place the gelatine into a 500 ml ovenproof jug or bowl and add the coffee or water and the instant coffee granules.  Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds – 1 minute or stand over the steam of simmering water until melted.
  3. Add the gelatine and liqueur to the cream and mix well until evenly blended.
  4. Pour the mixture into individual small or one large bowl to set.
  5. Garnish with the cream and/or chocolate drizzle or chocolates.


  • Cover well and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • This dessert is excellent to make for many.  The dessert may be moulded in small individual bowls or moulds or  in large moulds or decorative dessert bowls.
  • If you plan to unmould the pannacotta, refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours before unmoulding.

Recipes by Carolié de Koster.

Be sure to also try the basic Authentic Panna Cotta and the Goat’s Cheese Panna Cotta With Raspberries recipes.