Coffee Panna Cotta

Coffee Panna Cotta

[Photograph: Petrina Tinslay]

Imagine a creamy cappuccino, softly solidified. That's what the coffee panna cotta from Nigellissima reminds one of. Sweetened with brown sugar and flavored with espresso, this panna cotta is rich, yet refreshing.

Reprinted with permission by Nigella Lawson. Copyright © 2013. Published by Clarkson Potter Books. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

  • Yield:serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup freshly made espresso coffee
  • 1/4 cup (firmly packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 x 1/2-cup metal rum baba/dariole molds


  1. 1.

    Pour the water in a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatin. Let stand until softened. This will take about 10 minutes, so get on with the rest of the recipe while the gelatin softens.

  2. 2.

    Pour the hot strong espresso into a small saucepan and stir in the light brown sugar until it has dissolved. Now stir in the cream and a pinch of salt and put the saucepan over a low heat.

  3. 3.

    When the cappuccino-scented mixture is about to come to a boil—i.e., when it is beginning to bubble a little around the edges—take the pan off the heat.

  4. 4.

    Check that the gelatin looks soft—it should have turned translucent and absorbed all of the water—then scrape all of the soft gelatin into the saucepan and whisk until the gelatin has fully dissolved. Do not return the pan to the heat once you have added the gelatin.

  5. 5.

    Transfer the mixture to a heatproof pitcher before pouring the mixture into the 4 molds, giving the pitcher’s contents a gentle whisk between each pour. Transfer to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, until set. Let them come to room temperature before serving.

  6. 6.

    To unmold easily, dip the bottom of each mold into some just-boiled water, one at a time, and hold there for about 8 seconds; let it stand out of the water for another few seconds before wiping off the water and putting a small salad plate or saucer on top; then overturn the mold and let the panna cotta drop onto the plate. Do likewise with the remaining 3 molds and serve, as is, or with some cool chocolate sauce lapping around the edges.