Italian Dessert

How to make a Strawberry Panna Cotta with Vin Santo Sauce

panna cotta with strawberry and vin santo

Panna Cotta con Salsa di Vin Santo e Fragole

The strawberry panna cotta. Panna Cotta, which translates to “cooked cream” is a traditional Piedmontese dessert. It can be eaten plain or topped with a variety of sauces. This a perfect dessert for Mother’s Day but this is best made the day before. In this recipe, I am suggesting a Vin Santo strawberry sauce. Make this a wonderful surprise!



For Panna Cotta:

  • ¼ cup cold water                                                   
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract – or to taste
  • 4 tsps. unflavored gelatin                                      
  • 1 tbsp. Vin Santo – or to taste
  • 4 cups whipping cream                                         
  • 2 cups pine nuts
  • 1 cup sugar                                                            
  • 1 tbsp. honey – preferably orange blossom honey variety

For Strawberry Vin Santo Sauce:

  • 4 cups firm strawberries – hulled                        
  • 2 tbsp. Vin Santo – or to taste
  • 1/3 cup sugar                                                      
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract – or to taste
  • ½ tsp lemon zest – freshly grated                   


For Panna Cotta:

  1. Pour ¼ cup cold water into a small bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin and let it stand for about 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften. Set the bowl of gelatin in a saucepan of simmering water and stir for about 1 or 2 minutes until the gelatin dissolves.
  2. Combine the cream, sugar, honey, and vanilla in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the gelatin and Vin Santo, and whisk until well blended.
  4. Divide the pine nuts among 10 custard cups (3/4 cup size). Divide the cream mixture among the cups too, and chill for at least 6 hours or best overnight.

For Strawberry Vin Santo Sauce:             

  1. Rinse the strawberries, drain well and quarter. Puree the strawberries in a food processor and then transfer to a heavy pan. 
  2. Mix in the sugar, Vin Santo, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Simmer over medium heat and stir often until the sauce is reduced to 2 cups – this takes about 15 minutes. 
  3. Cool before pouring over the panna cotta. This sauce can also be made the day before.

To Serve:

After chilling the panna cotta that were placed in the custard cups, set them briefly in a small bowl of warm water to slightly loosen the panna cotta – 15 or 20 seconds. Run a small knife around the top inside of the cup and invert the mold onto your serving plates. Spoon the sauce over the top while letting it drizzle down the sides and pool around the bottom of the panna cotta. You can also be creative with your plating.

You made it! Indulge in your panna cotta and share this recipe with your friends!

Note: I am extremely fortunate to have a cousin who lives in my Father’s birth hamlet of Montefollonico, a province of Siena. Andrea makes the most delicious Vin Santo for which he has won many awards and whenever we visit, he presents me with a bottle of this delicious liqueur. I am eternally grateful to you, Andrea, and I enjoy your Vin Santo in many ways!

Andrea and VinSanto

This is my cousin Andrea gifting me with a precious bottle of his homemade Vin Santo!

Buon Mangiata!

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