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Maple Panna Cotta

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Maple Panna Cotta

This irresistibly creamy Maple Panna Cotta is surprisingly easy to make. Serve this make-ahead dessert with your favorite seasonal fruits! Instructions to make vegan panna cotta included.

Maple Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure is at the bottom of the article.


Desserts don’t need to be fussy and difficult to make to look elegant and taste delightfully rich. This easy Maple Panna Cotta is proof of that. Panna cotta is an Italian dessert that translates to “cooked cream.” The name is simple and the process to make it is, too: panna cotta is quite simply a sweetened cream that is thickened and set by gelatin.

I’ve been making panna cotta for years. It’s one of my go-to desserts to serve to guests and there are many reasons why I love making it for dinner parties: it’s super quick to make, requires very few ingredients, is versatile in flavor and make-ahead friendly. What’s not to like?

Maple Panna Cotta is a 5-ingredient recipe: you only need heavy cream, milk, maple syrup, gelatin, and vanilla extract to make it.

The ingredients required to make maple panna cotta // FoodNouveau.com

You can serve panna cotta so many different ways: you can flavor it with vanilla, citrus zest, liquor, or fruit compotes, garnish it with seasonal fruits or crunchy toppings, serve it in small glasses or ramekins, or unmold it to serving plates, for a different look. In short, panna cotta is effortlessly stylish and deliciously memorable.

But my favorite way to sweeten and flavor panna cotta is to make it with maple syrup instead of regular sugar. Maple syrup infuses the panna cotta cream with its aromatic, earthy flavor, and adds some depth to the rich creaminess of the dessert.

The beauty of maple panna cotta is that it’s delightful on its own, but it’s also delicious with a variety of fruits and crunchy toppings. A combination of flavors and textures really brings maple panna cotta to another level: simply spoon on some juicy berries and sprinkle it with crunchy nuts and you’ve got a dessert fit for special occasions.

Maple Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com



Helpful tips for making maple panna cotta


Can I make maple panna cotta in advance?

Yes you can, and in fact, you should! Panna cotta needs to be refrigerated for several hours to set, so it’s best to make it at least a half-day in advance. You can refrigerate set maple panna cotta for up to 5 days. Always garnish it with the toppings of your choosing (if any!) right before serving.

I don’t have maple syrup. Can I use another sweetener instead?

This panna cotta truly is worth you seeking maple syrup! But if you can’t find it, yes, you can substitute honey or any variety of granulated sugar at a 1:1 ratio. If you use granulated sugar, make sure to stir the milk and cream mixture with the sugar over the heat for a few minutes to make sure it dissolves and is completely incorporated into the liquid.

Why does gelatin need to rest, or “bloom” before I use it?

The type of gelatin I use to make maple panna potta is a dry, grainy powder and it needs to be steeped into a liquid to rehydrate. This step is crucial to creating a super-smooth, creamy panna cotta. Although “blooming” might sound like a technical term (albeit an elegant-sounding one), blooming gelatin is actually super easy. All you need to do is to sprinkle the gelatin over a liquid and leave it to rest, without stirring, for about 5 minutes. After that resting period, you’ll mix in the hot liquid, which will allow the gelatin to fully dissolve and help you create that irresistibly wobbly panna cotta texture.

Blooming gelatin // FoodNouveau.com

Can I use sheet gelatin instead of powdered gelatin?

Powdered gelatin is usually the easiest type of gelatin to find. The brand I use is Knox unflavored gelatin, and it is sold in all North American supermarkets. In Europe, gelatin sheets can be easier to find than powdered gelatin.

If you’ve got gelatin sheets on hand, you can use it to make maple panna cotta. For 1 packet of powdered gelatin (2 1/2 teaspoons), substitute 5 sheets, each measuring about 2-7/8″ x 8-1/2″ (7 cm x 11.5 cm). To rehydrate gelatin sheets, you need to steep them in cold water for 5 minutes. This means you can warm up all the milk and cream together, instead of setting aside 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the milk to bloom the gelatin. Once gelatin sheets are soft, drain and squeeze out excess water. Add to the hot milk and cream mixture and stir until fully dissolved.

How to make vegan panna cotta

It’s easy to make vegan panna cotta. Here’s how:

  • Substitute plant milk and cream for the regular varieties. I like to use a combination of oat milk and soy cream because they both have a smooth flavor that lets maple take center stage, but you can also use coconut cream.
  • Substitute 1 teaspoon (5 ml) agar agar for the gelatin. Agar has a stronger setting power than gelatin has, so you don’t need to use as much.
  • In the method, skip the gelatin blooming step and instead whisk together all the ingredients, including the agar-agar, in a saucepan. Bring to a light simmer while whisking to make sure the agar dissolves properly. Divide between serving glasses and refrigerate as indicated.

How to make dairy-free panna cotta

Substitute plant milk and cream for the regular varieties. I like to use a combination of oat milk and soy cream because they both have a smooth flavor that lets maple take center stage, but you can also use coconut cream.

Maple Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com

Topping and serving ideas for maple panna cotta

So many different fruits go well with maple syrup. Use maple panna cotta as a blank canvas and vary the toppings according to the season:

  • Berries
  • Diced orange, mandarin, tangerine, or clementine
  • Apple, pear, mango, or peach compote
  • Any fruit coulis, such as rhubarb

Crunchy toppings also offer a delightful contrast to the creamy texture of maple panna cotta. Here are a few ideas:

  • Toasted nuts, chopped, such as pecans, walnuts, and pistachios
  • Crunchy cookie-like crumble (refer to my orange panna cotta for an easy, make-ahead crumble recipe)
  • Granola
  • Crumbled sablé cookies

You can also serve panna cotta with crunchy cookies or mini cakes on the side to turn it into an elegant plated dessert. Sablés, financiers, and madeleines make wonderful sidekicks to this maple panna cotta.

More Panna Cotta recipes

Rhubarb Panna Cotta / Maple & Orange Panna Cotta / Dairy-Free Almond Panna Cotta

Rhubarb Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com  Cara Cara Orange and Maple Panna Cotta with Pecan-Maple Crumble // FoodNouveau.com  Almond Panna Cotta with Salted Praline and Macerated Blueberries (Dairy-Free) // FoodNouveau.com

Maple Desserts & Treats Cookbook

Love maple? Then you need to get your hands on my Maple Desserts & Treats Cookbook! Filled with 25 maple-centric recipes, from timeless classics to modern treats, Maple Desserts & Treats is a downloadable eBook with a collection of irresistible recipes made with nature’s most aromatic sugar. Get it all in a handy, “save it everywhere” PDF format! LEARN MORE

Maple Desserts & Treats, a recipe eBook by award-winning author of FoodNouveau.com, Marie Asselin

 
Maple Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com

Maple Panna Cotta

This irresistibly creamy Maple Panna Cotta is surprisingly easy to make. Serve this make-ahead dessert with your favorite seasonal fruits! Instructions to make vegan panna cotta included.
Prep Time:15 mins
Cooling Time:4 hrs
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

Toppings

  • Crushed toasted nuts, such as pecans or walnuts
  • Additional maple syrup, to drizzle
  • Fresh fruits (optional)

Instructions

  • Pour ½ cup (125 ml) of the milk into a large bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let rest for 5 minutes (do not mix—this step allows the gelatin to bloom).
  • In a saucepan, combine the rest of the milk (½ cup / 125 ml) with the heavy cream, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Set over medium-high heat and stir until you reach a light simmer.
  • Pour the very hot milk and cream mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  • Divide the maple panna cotta mixture between 8 small glasses, jars, bowls, or ramekins. Refrigerate at least 4 hours to set. (Do not cover while the maple panna cotta is hot because this will create condensation and the water will fall on the panna cotta when you uncover it.)
  • SERVING: Right before serving, top panna cotta with your choice of crunchy nuts and fresh fruits, along with an additional drizzle of maple syrup.
  • STORAGE: Cover cold maple panna cotta with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE: Substitute plant milk and cream for the regular varieties. I like to use a combination of oat milk and soy cream because they both have a smooth flavor that lets maple take center stage, but you can also use coconut cream.
  • MAKE IT VEGAN:
    - Substitute plant milk and cream for the regular varieties. I like to use a combination of oat milk and soy cream because they both have a smooth flavor that lets maple take center stage, but you can also use coconut cream.
    - Substitute 1 teaspoon (5 ml) agar agar for the gelatin. Agar has a stronger setting power than gelatin has, so you don’t need to use as much.
    - In the method, skip the gelatin blooming step and instead whisk together all the ingredients, including the agar-agar, in a saucepan. Bring to a light simmer while whisking to make sure the agar dissolves properly. Divide between serving glasses and refrigerate as indicated.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

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Author: Marie Asselin

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooling Time: 4 hrs

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  1. 5 stars
    My favorite dessert is panna cotta. Lovely to have your maple panna cotta recipe. It is so imaginative, I love it. I will definitely try it, thank you!

  2. Panna Cotta is one of my all time favorite desserts so I was so happy to find this easy recipe. The addition of maple and nuts was fantastic . Thanks for a great recipe !

  3. 5 stars
    This maple panna cotta was so delicious and I loved the sweetness from the maple and the toasted pecans on top were perfect!

  4. 5 stars
    I made your pannacotta for dessert last night and my family devoured it! I loved the maple flavor and I topped it with blueberries and toasted pecans!

  5. 5 stars
    This panna cotta is so creamy, easy to make, and love the hints of maple flavor. This was my first time trying panna cotta and I’m so glad I tried your recipe! Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    These look delicious! The presentation is so pretty too! I will have to give this recipe a try! Thanks for the share!

  7. How wonderful! I make panna cotta all the time and have never thought to use maple syrup. That’s not very Canadian of me, is it?
    I have all the ingredients to make this treat, so I’d better get on it if we’re having dessert tonight. Oh, and I LOVE that you include the vegan and dairy free options. I haven’t worked with agar agar before so I have to give it a try.

    • Sometimes when something’s so obvious, you can’t see it! 😂 You’re going to love this maple panna cotta, Bernice. You might never make panna cotta with regular sugar ever again!

    • Panna cotta is such a great make-ahead dessert for dinner parties! It’s super elegant and the delightful creaminess of the dessert always impresses everyone. I’m always in for a stress-free dessert option to feed a crowd!