Chocolate Panna Cotta

Chocolate Panna Cotta

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Chill: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 6 panna cotta

Panna cotta, or “cooked cream” in Italian, is an airy custard or pudding-like dessert. It is made with sweetened cream and set with gelatin in small bowls or ramekins. To serve, panna cotta can be inverted onto a small plate or simply enjoyed straight from the ramekin with a spoon.

This chocolate version of panna cotta is a delicious, no-fuss recipe that is easy to prepare. Instead of using gelatin sheets, this recipe uses an envelope of unflavored gelatin. The individually-sized treats only take a few minutes to assemble, but let them chill completely before serving, ideally overnight. If inverting the panna cotta causes some stress, simply top the ramekins with a dollop of whipped cream and your favorite fresh fruit. You'll still have a picture-perfect dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 (1-ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 9 ounces dark chocolate (chopped)
  • Garnish: Whipped cream, fresh fruit

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chocolate Panna Cotta ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  2. In a small bowl combine the milk and gelatin. Allow the gelatin to soften.

    Gelatin in milk in a bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Bring to a simmer over low heat.

    Heavy cream, sugar, and other ingredients in a pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  4. Remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture.

    Gelatin and milk mixture next to heavy cream with whisk

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  5. Stir in the chopped dark chocolate.

    Chocolate added to mixture in pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  6. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a large glass measuring cup or a bowl with a pour spout.

    Strained chocolate panna cotta over a measuring cup

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  7. Pour mixture evenly into 6 ramekins.

    Chocolate Panna Cotta mixture poured into ramekins

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  8. Chill the panna cotta in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 6 hours prior to serving.

    Chilled Chocolate Panna Cotta

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  9. Top with whipped cream and fresh berries as desired. Enjoy!

    Chocolate Panna Cotta topped with whipped cream and berries

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

Tips

If your panna cotta didn't set up properly, there are a few possible reasons:

  • It's often an issue with the gelatin. It's possible that the gelatin didn't dissolve all the way when combined with the milk.
  • It's also possible that the gelatin was added over the heat when the cream mixture was too warm. When high amounts of heat hit the gelatin, it loses its thickening power. The cream should be hot enough to dissolve the gelatin and then the chocolate, but not boiling.
  • Make sure you give the panna cotta enough time to set up in the refrigerator. Let chill for at least six hours before enjoying.

Recipe Variation

Panna cotta can be inverted from the ramekin and served on a plate for a classic presentation:

  • Be sure to lightly grease the inside of the dishes with a neutral, flavorless oil before filling. This will help the panna cotta slip from the ramekin when unmolding.
  • If your panna cotta are stuck in their ramekins, running a knife around the edge of each panna cotta to release it from the mold also helps, as does dipping the ramekin for a few seconds in a shallow container of hot water before turning it out.
  • You can always serve stubborn panna cotta directly out of the ramekin.

Can You Make Panna Cotta in a Muffin Tin?

While you can make panna cotta in a muffin tin, they will be especially easy to remove from the pan since you must remove them all at once. For best results, try using a silicone muffin tin, which allows for more flexibility when removing the panna cotta.