Traditional Italian Panna Cotta Recipe

Have fun making a traditional Italian panna cotta recipe and taste the creamy results. Just thinking about a genuine panna cotta (pronounced pun-nuh cot-tuh) cooked cream dessert gets the taste buds salivating.

These Old World molded desserts are creamy smooth and totally delicious. And they're easy to make too. Make a delectable treat for someone special, or simply treat yourself.

Traditional Italian Panna Cotta Recipes

The Cook's Decameron (1905)

Homemade Italian Caramel Cream DessertMake an Italian Caramel Cream Dessert
(Source: ©inan-avci/123RF)

Crema tartara alla Caramella / Caramel Cream

Ingredients: Cream, eggs, caramel sugar, vanilla or lemon flavoring.

Boil a pint of cream and give it any flavor you like. When cold, add the yolks of eight eggs and two tablespoonfuls of castor sugar, mix well and pass it through a sieve; then burn some sugar to a caramel, line a smooth mold with it and pour the cream into it.

Boil in a bain-marie (double boiler) for an hour and serve hot or cold.

Antique Bain MarieAntique Bain Marie
(Source: Don Bell)

Croccante di Mandorle / Nougat Cream Dessert

The secret to making this Italian cream dessert is to keep stirring the almonds in the caramelized sugar to prevent the mixture from burning on the saucepan's bottom.

Also, spread the toasted almond crunch mixture very thinly. You might find it easier to first spread the hot almond mixture onto a buttered parchment paper, then place another sheet of buttered parchment on top and quickly roll using a rolling pin.

Peel off the parchment paper and press the almond mixture into a mold with your hands while it's still quite warm.

Castor Sugar

In the USA substitute Super Fine sugar, a.k.a. Bar Sugar. In Canada use Super Fine or Berry Sugar. These sugars are finely ground yet not powdered like icing sugars.

Ingredients: Almonds, sugar, lemon juice, butter, castor sugar, pistachios, preserved fruits.

Blanch half a pound of almonds, cut them into shreds and dry them in a slow oven until they are a light brown color; then put a quarter pound of castor sugar into a saucepan and caramel it lightly; stir well with a wooden spoon.

When the sugar is dissolved, throw the hot almonds into it and also a little lemon juice. Take the saucepan off the fire and mix the almonds with the sugar, pour it into a buttered mold and press it against the sides of the mold with a lemon, but remember that the casing of sugar must be very thin.

(You may, if you like, spread out the mixture on a flat dish and line the mold with your hands, but the sugar must be kept hot.)

Then carefully take it out of the mold and decorate it with castor sugar, pistachio nuts, and preserved fruits. Fill this case with whipped cream and preserved fruits or fresh strawberries.

Crema Rappresa / Coffee Cream Dessert

A dozen eggs and almost a pint of rich cream serve to make this an amazingly rich and creamy mocha dessert with a delectable taste you'll absolutely love.

This traditional Italian panna cotta recipe is worth the extra preparation time. Just be sure to serve it well chilled. Very very good.

Ingredients: Coffee, cream, eggs, sugar, butter.

Bruise five ounces of freshly roasted Mocha coffee, and add it to three-quarters of a pint of boiling cream; cover the saucepan, let it simmer for twenty minutes, then pass through a bit of fine muslin.

In the meantime mix the yolks of ten eggs and two whole eggs with eight ounces of castor sugar and a glass of cream; add the coffee cream to this and pass the whole through a fine sieve into a buttered mold.

Steam in a bain-marie (double boiler) for rather more than an hour, but do not let the water boil; then put the cream on ice for about an hour, and before serving turn it out on a dish and pour some cream flavored with stick vanilla round it.

Crema Montata alle Fragole /  Strawberry Cream

Ingredients: Cream, castor sugar, Maraschino, strawberries or strawberry jam.

Put a pint of cream on ice, and after two hours whip it up. Pass three tablespoonfuls of strawberry jam through a sieve and add two tablespoonfuls of Maraschino; mix this with the cream and build it up into a pyramid. Garnish with meringue biscuits and serve quickly.

You may use fresh strawberries when in season, but then add castor sugar to taste.

Traditional Italian Panna Cotta Recipes

The White House Cook Book (1913)

Pienza in Tuscany, ItalySunny Countryside Near Pienza in Tuscany, Italy
(Source: ©selitbul/

Italian Cream With White Wine and Lemon

To make this traditional Italian panna cotta recipe, put two pints of cream into two bowls; with one bowl mix six ounces of powdered loaf sugar, the juice of two large lemons and two glassfuls of white wine; then add the other pint of cream and stir the whole very hard.

Boil two ounces of gelatin with four small teacupfuls of water till reduced to one-half; then stir the mixture lukewarm into the other ingredients; put them in a glass dish to congeal.

Italian Custard Cream With Lemon

Ingredients: 1/2 pint of cream, 1/2 pint of milk, 1 ounce of gelatin, sugar to taste, the yolks of 4 eggs, the thin rind and strained juice of 1 lemon.


Soak the gelatin in a little cold water for 1/2 an hour, and afterwards stir it over the fire until dissolved. Boil up the milk, infuse the lemon rind for 20 minutes, then add the gelatin, yolks of eggs, lemon juice, and sugar to taste.

Stir by the side of the fire until the mixture thickens, then strain, and, when cool, stir in the stiffly whipped cream.

The preparation may be turned into a mold and put aside until set, or it may be at once served in a glass dish or jelly glasses. This traditional Italian panna cotta recipe makes sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

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