Vanilla panna cotta with strawberry sauce

This delicious recipe for panna cotta is the perfect summer treat to enjoy during the Wimbledon season.

With England making it to the final 4 teams in the Fifa World Cup it’s been hard not to get caught up in the football mania this year. But with the Wimbledon final also this weekend it can only mean one thing  – it’s strawberry season! Despite a cold start to the year (that pesky Beast from the East), delaying the harvest by a few weeks, it’s going to be a bumper crop according to growers, which means you’ll need plenty of tasty strawberry recipes on hand to use them all up.

Our friends over at the Green Apron cookery school, in Coggeshall, Essex, were only too happy to provide us with one of their winning recipes. Perfect for summer entertaining al fresco, this vanilla panna cotta with strawberry sauce will have your guests begging for more!

Serves 6


For the panna cotta

  • 3 leaves of gelatine
  • 450ml double cream
  • 200ml whole milk
  • 100g white caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • Flavourless oil such as sunflower or vegetable

For the sauce

  • 400g strawberries
  • 1½ teaspoon cornflour
  • 30-50g caster sugar (depending on how sweet the strawberries are)



  • Gather together 6 glasses, or if you’d like to turn out your panna cottas – lightly oil 6 small pudding moulds
  • Soften the gelatine leaves by putting them in a bowl of cold water for approximately 5 minutes
  • Put the cream, milk and sugar in a pan.  Halve the vanilla pod and using a flat knife scrape out the seeds and add to the pan along with the vanilla pod
  • Heat gently until just below boiling.  You should see the mixture steam and a few bubbles appear around the edge of the pan.  Stir gently to ensure all the sugar has dissolved
  • Remove the gelatine leaves from the cold water, squeeze to get rid of excess water and then add them to the hot liquid one at a time giving a stir between each to ensure they are dissolved
  • Leave the liquid to stand for 20 to 30 minutes so it begins to thicken.  This helps ensure the vanilla seeds are distributed through the liquid. It’s not essential if you don’t have time, but more of the seeds will fall to the bottom of the panna cotta. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a jug and pour into your glasses or moulds. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 hours
  • To make the strawberry sauce, wash, hull and quarter the strawberries.  Place them in a pan with the sugar and cornflour and stir to ensure the strawberries are coated
  • Place over a low heat and stir occasionally until the strawberries collapse down and have released their juice.  Cool and chill until required
  • To serve – if in glasses, top with a little of the sauce and serve immediately
  • To serve – if in moulds, dip each mould briefly in very hot water (no more than 3 to 4 seconds).  Tip the mould to ensure the panna cotta has loosened and is moving. Place the serving plate on top of the mould and flip over.  The panna cotta should slip easily out of the mould onto the plate. If not, give it a gentle shake. Be patient as sometimes it takes a while before the heat melts the edges enough for the panna cotta to be released.  If you are struggling, re-dip in the hot water for a few seconds and try again. Serve with the strawberry sauce poured around the edge of the panna cotta


Tips and Alternatives

  • Leaf gelatine is relatively easy to find in supermarkets these days.  If you can only find powdered gelatine, then one leaf of gelatine is equal to 1 tsp of powdered gelatine.  3 leaves of gelatine or 3 tsp of powdered gelatine set 1 pint or 570ml of liquid. Use slightly less for a panna cotta as this should have a very soft set
  • Vary the fruit sauce with the seasons; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, diced plums etc.  Rhubarb is delicious served with panna cotta – either on its own, with strawberries or with the zest of an orange.  Serve this with oranges soaked in Grand Marnier or in a caramel sauce for an, indulgent winter treat
  • Other flavours for panna cotta include lemon, coffee or alcohol (rum, brandy, Baileys – not very Italian, but good)

The Green Apron cookery school was built by Westbury and is a great example of how beautiful a garden room kitchen can be. The glazed gable and vaulted ceiling flood the space with light and create a strong connection to the outside kitchen garden, making it the perfect space in which to learn to cook. Read the full case study here for more inspiration.