A silky smooth creamy panna cotta recipe made luxurious with extra-virgin olive and an infusion of lemon and vanilla bean.
This post has been sponsored by Carapelli®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Classic Italian panna cotta is an easy, creamy dessert you’ll absolutely want to add to your to must-make recipe list.
These elegant-looking panna cottas are infused with the rich flavor of Carapelli® Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, fresh lemon zest and flecked with fragrant vanilla beans.
Despite their restaurant-worthy appearance, panna cottas are really simple to make with just a handful of ingredients.
What is panna cotta?
Panna cotta is an Italian dessert usually made with scalded sweetened milk or cream and a bit of gelatin to help it set.
Its name literally translates to mean “cooked cream” and it’s always served chilled, sometimes with fresh fruit.
The dessert kind of resembles a wobbly pudding, but since it doesn’t contain eggs, panna cotta is lighter than egg-based custards, which allows the pure flavor of the ingredients to shine.
It’s that very simplicity of ingredients that basically makes panna cotta a neutral canvas for a cook.
I see it as an invitation to get creative with complementary flavors, and what goes better with delicious Italian-style food than olive oil and lemon?
Olive oil might not be the first thing you’d think to add to a creamy dessert, but quality-crafted extra-virgin olive oil only reinforces the luxurious flavor and texture.
After I tested and tasted this recipe, I loved how Carapelli Organic EVOO perfectly highlighted the pure and simple flavors in my creamy panna cotta.
I’m kind of obsessed with really good olive oil, and always stalking the aisles of my favorite stores looking to discover great brands like Carapelli.
Carapelli is a brand that has mastered the art of crafting authentic exceptional oils, and they’ve been bottling it in Florence for over 125 years — a great thing to look for when it comes to extra-virgin olive oil.
Depending on where you live, Carapelli brand olive oils are available nationwide in many grocery stores, and in Ahold stores in the Northeast. I found it stocked at my local Stop and Shop store in New Jersey.
The oil stands out on the shelf next to the usual choices — it comes in a beautifully designed dark green bottle secured with a high-quality cork to preserve freshness. It looks so classy on the counter that I’ve been leaving it out on display!
As a passionate home cook, the fall and winter holidays bring me to my happy place because it’s time to gather everyone around the table.
It’s the season to fully realize the art of living well, the time to splurge on great ingredients at your favorite grocery store — Stop and Shop in my case — and cook special dinners at home.
When I throw small dinner parties and already have a a long list of things to do, panna cottas are often what I’ll make for a sweet ending to the meal.
Not only do they look pretty, but they’re one of the easiest make-ahead desserts out there.
You can make these panna cottas one or two days ahead, and pull them out of the fridge when you’re ready to serve.
The golden olive oil looks so beautiful drizzled over the creamy-white top of the finished panna cotta as a finishing touch, and will impress everyone at the table.
Want to try Carapelli oil? Click for a coupon and save a dollar on your next purchase at your favorite Stop and Shop store.
Olive Oil and Lemon Pannacotta
Yield 6 servings
Classic Italian panna cotta is an easy make-ahead dessert that will impress everyone at your table.
This olive oil-infused panna cotta is silky-smooth and light, made with cream, tangy buttermilk and scented with lemon and vanilla bean.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 2 tablespoons Carapelli® Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for serving
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 7 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and interior scraped
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Additional lemon zest, for garnish
- Put the gelatin in a small dish and pour the water over. Stir to dissolve.
- Whisk the olive oil into the buttermilk.
- Combine the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla bean and scraped seeds, lemon zest and salt in a saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and whisk to dissolve sugar. Heat just until bubbles start to form on the edge of the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it dissolves. Add the buttermilk mixture and stir to blend. Pour through a mesh strainer into a container with a pour spout, such as a liquid measuring cup.
- Pour into 6 custard cups or ramekins with 1/2-cup capacity. Cover and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.
- To serve, dip the bottom of each cup into warm water and loosen the sides with the edge of a dull knife or small offset spatula. Invert over a serving plate, wiggling the cup until the panna cotta releases.
- Sprinkle the tops of the panna cottas with lemon zest and drizzle with olive oil.
Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
As the recipe developer, photographer and publisher of Familystyle Food, I share recipes and tips for making easy seasonal meals that are healthy and flavorful.
Have a question or feedback? Get in touch or leave me a comment below — I love hearing from you!