Vanilla Mascarpone Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta, pure heaven if it is made correctly. I find it difficult to find great panna cotta in the states. One of my travels in Italy I had the great pleasure of such an amazing experience with panna cotta. I asked the chef for the recipe, his recipe was written on a cocktail napkin in Italian. Immediately when I returned home I translated this recipe and once I prepared it, I knew I would be using this recipe forever. Over the years I have created new recipe profiles.

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Vanilla Mascarpone Panna Cotta

Lovely, easy, creamy authentic Italian Panna Cotta

  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 – 8 1x



Panna Cotta

1/4 cup water

2 tsp unflavored gelatin

2 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

8oz mascarpone (room temp)

1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cherry Glaze

16 ounces cherries (frozen or fresh, pitted)          

1/2 cup granulated sugar                                                                                 

1/2 cup port or red wine                                                                                                        

1 tablespoon cornstarch                                                                                    

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Panna Cotta

Put water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand 5 minutes to soften gelatin.

Scrape vanilla bean. Place cream, sugar, vanilla bean & seeds in a heavy medium sauce pan. Bring to medium heat then let simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove vanilla bean and remove pan from heat, add the gelatin and whisk until dissolved. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until everything is blended smoothly.

Ladle into containers. Small martini glasses, ramekins, mason jars. Be creative. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Cherry Glaze

In a medium saucepan, bring the cherries, sugar, and port to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. In a small bowl, stir the lemon juice and cornstarch together until smooth. Whisk it into the boiling cherry mixture.
Return to a boil, stirring constantly. You don’t want this sauce to scorch on the bottom.Cook until the liquid has thickened, which should take about 1 more minute.
Remove the pot from the heat and taste. You can add a little extra sugar or lemon juice if needed at this point, depending on your personal preference.


When adding the mascarpone, it is very important to have this cheese at room temperature. It is also very important to have the cream off the stove top  before adding the mascarpone.  I have had a few clients who have tried to rush this recipe and they had the cream at a rolling boil, tossed in the mascarpone and its bad news! The mascarpone will not incorporate nicely instead the butter fat separates and once cooled will create a layer of butter fat on top of your panna cotta

  • Author: Chef Shelly
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes + 3 hour cooling
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian