Cooked Cream with Limoncello (Pannacotta al Limoncello)

By Mary Contini From the book Valvona & Crolla: A Year at an Italian Table
Cooked Cream with Limoncello (Pannacotta al Limoncello)

This smooth, creamy dessert is very easy to make. We like to serve ours firm but not rubbery. It lasts up to four days, so can be made ahead of time. The Limoncello liqueur adds a touch of glamour for a dinner party.

For how many? Makes 4


  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 30g gelatine powder or 2 sheets leaf gelatine
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 750 ml single cream
  • 1⁄2 vanilla pod
  • zest from 1 unwaxed lemon
  • Limoncello liqueur, chilled


Put the water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatine over it and allow it to get spongy.

Place the sugar and cream in a saucepan. Split open the vanilla pod and add to the pan. Heat slowly, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved, but do not allow to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the prepared gelatine. Return to the heat and stir to dissolve the gelatine. Remove from the heat again and sieve the mixture into a bowl.

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the cream. Allow to cool, then divide the mixture between 4 ramekins. Cover with cling film and chill overnight to set.

To serve, slide a sharp knife around the inside edge of each ramekin, put a plate over the top and tip it upside down to unmould it. Serve with a sprinkling of lemon zest and a generous splash of Limoncello. Or you could try…... Complementing the panna cotta with various syrups and liqueurs. Here are some ideas.

Sugar syrup: Place 125 g sugar and 190 ml of cold water in one saucepan, and put another 125 g sugar and 60 ml cold water in another saucepan. Stir both saucepans over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the larger quantity to the boil and allow to boil vigorously for about 2 minutes. Do not stir while it is boiling. Allow the second saucepan to come to the boil and remove it from the heat as soon as it starts to brown. Very carefully pour the larger amount into the smaller one. Place over a low heat and stir gently until the sticky toffee on the bottom melts. Pour into a jug and use as required. It keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Marmalade syrup: Blanch the rind and juice of 1 Seville orange in boiling water for 5 minutes to get rid of some of the bitterness. Place in a saucepan with the orange juice and 4 teaspoons sugar and heat to a simmer, stirring constantly, until it becomes a light jam.

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