Lemon-Raspberry Panna Cotta

by Cindi SutterFounder & Editor of Spirited Table® - Excerpted from Valerie’s Home Cooking by Valerie Bertinelli. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Panna cotta sounds and tastes so decadent, and in the sense that it is an intensely thick, sweetened, and flavored cream, it is indulgent—but in the best possible way. Even better, you won’t believe how simple this is to make or how it will melt in your mouth. Since panna cotta must chill and set for at least 8 hours, you can prepare it a day or two ahead and save yourself time, as you’ll need to top it only with fresh fruit. I make this in the summer when the fruit is at its peak ripeness and plentiful. 

Lemon-Raspberry Panna Cotta
Serves 8 Hands-on 15 minutes Total 8 hours, 15 minutes, 
including 8 hours chilling


2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
3 (3-inch) lemon peel strips
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup small fresh raspberries


  1. Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and lemon peel strips in a medium saucepan; bring just to a simmer over medium-high, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, and let steep for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small saucepan; let stand for 2 minutes. Cook over low just until the gelatin dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. 
  3. Stir the gelatin mixture into the cream mixture. Remove and discard the lemon peel strips. Divide the mixture among 8 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups. Cover and chill until set, at least 8 hours.
  4. Dip the ramekins into a bowl of very hot water for about 5 seconds; run a thin knife or offset spatula around the outside of the custards, and invert onto serving plates. Top with the raspberries. 

Variation: For variety, you can make this as a simple vanilla panna cotta, going heavier with the vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste instead of the lemon. You could also take advantage of seasonal fruit, such as peaches or nectarines, and add a few slices to the side of the plate as a garnish.