Lemon Panna Cotta

Looking for something easy, yet stunning to serve for a family dinner or special gathering? Light and refreshing, Panna Cotta is traditional Italian dessert that has a luscious, silky texture that’s sure to impress. You can even make it ahead of time to save work on the day of your event?


For the marmalade:

3 large lemons

¾ c. sugar

For the panna cotta:

1 c. whole milk, divided

2 tsp. unflavored gelatin

2½ c. heavy whipping cream

½ c. sugar

Peel from 1 lemon (removed with a vegetable peeler)

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise


For the marmalade:

  • Using a knife, cut peel and white pith, end to end, from lemons. Juice enough flesh to measure ⅓ cup; reserve. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add peel; boil for 5 minutes. Drain; repeat 2 more times. Let peel cool; slice lengthwise into thin strips, then crosswise in half.
  • In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir sugar, reserved ⅓ cup lemon juice, and ¼ cup water until sugar dissolves. Add peel, bring to a simmer, and cook until mixture is reduced to ⅔ cup and an instant-read thermometer reads 225°F (about 10 minutes).

For the panna cotta:

  • Pour ½ cup milk into a medium bowl; sprinkle gelatin over it. Let sit until gelatin softens (about 15 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, combine cream, sugar, lemon peel, and remaining ½ cup milk in a large saucepan. Scrape vanilla seeds from bean into saucepan; add bean. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
  • Bring cream mixture back to a simmer. Add gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Strain. Divide among eight ¾-cup ramekins. Chill uncovered until panna cotta is set (at least 6 hours). (The panna cotta can also be made up to two days ahead.) Cover and keep chilled.
  • Using a small, sharp knife, cut around edges of each panna cotta. Place a small serving plate atop each ramekin and invert, allowing panna cotta to settle onto plate. Serve with marmalade.