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Pistachio panna cotta is a decadent and dreamy pistachio twist to the classic Italian dessert. This easy panna cotta recipe is the perfect date night treat, topped off with Amarena cherry syrup and quick pistachio brittle.
Ingredients for Pistachio Panna Cotta
You only need 6 ingredients for the base to this panna cotta:
- Powdered gelatine.
- Water - just a little water from the tap to soak to help bloom the gelatine.
- Yoghurt - plain yoghurt works best, but you could also use Greek style yoghurt in this recipe.
- Cream - use either heavy cream or double cream.
- Pistachio paste - the star of the show for pistachio panna cotta! You can make your own - see my step by step guide to pistachio nut butter. Alternatively, you can find pistachio pastes available in many supermarkets or specialty stores.
- Sugar - caster sugar or superfine granulated sugar will work in this recipe.
Steps for Making Pistachio Panna Cotta
As I've discussed in other recipes, you will want to start by blooming the gelatine. This is a simple but essential step:
- Sprinkle the gelatine powder over the water in a small bowl.
- Allow to sit for about 5 minutes to soak through.
It is important that the gelatine is added to the water and not vice versa. This is in order for it to slowly and evenly soak up the water and soften. If you add water on top of gelatine, the powder may stick to the bottom of the bowl and won't bloom properly.
Easy Two-Bowl Recipe
In one bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, half of the cream and half of the pistachio paste.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, mix together the remaining cream, pistachio paste and the sugar. Heat this over a medium heat until simmering. Then, remove from the heat and slip the softened gelatine into the warm mixture stirring until it dissolves.
Slowly pour the warm cream mixture into the mixing bowl, whisking as you go to incorporate this into a smooth lightly green cream.
Whisk slowly as you don't want to add unnecessary air bubbles - don't beat or whip the panna cotta mixture.
Spoon into serving glasses or bowls, cover and chill to set.
Toppings to Elevate the Dessert
Honestly, I would happily eat this pistachio panna cotta as is! The creamy mixture is delicious on its own, but to really give it a showstopping finish, add some Amarena cherry syrup and a piece of salted pistachio brittle.
If you'd prefer to leave off the brittle, you could also add a few Amarena cherries for the extra texture.
FAQs for Pistachio Panna Cotta
Panna cotta is a great make ahead dessert if you want to get organised in advance of an event. You can easily make these up to three days in advance and they'll still taste delicious!
If making in advance, only top when ready to serve.
Yes, this panna cotta can be frozen. Ensure that you are using freezer safe containers to decant the mixture.
First, chill in the refrigerator overnight to ensure that the gelatine activates and the dessert sets. Once set, wrap and transfer to the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
As with refrigerating - top the dessert when ready to serve. This will prevent any separation or seeping of the topping ingredients into the cream.
Traditionally panna cottas are served on plates, turned out of ramekin moulds.
Personally, I find this process of turning the panna cottas out onto a plate to be entirely unnecessarily, offering very little to the presentation of the dish and no benefit to the taste!
Instead, I recommend serving in glasses - you can use small juice glasses, wine glasses or even a nice set of tea cups. Each serving is roughly half a cup but you can make these larger or smaller dependent on the size of serving glasses you have available.
I have not tested this recipe unmoulded from a ramekin. While it sets firm enough to hold shape as you use a spoon to eat, it is creamy and may struggle to release from a mould.
If you like this recipe, try some other elegant desserts that are easier than you might think:
Pistachio Panna Cotta
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatine
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 1½ cups heavy cream or double cream
- ¼ cup pistachio paste
- ¼ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
Ingredients for Topping (optional)
- pistachio brittle for a quick pistachio brittle decoration see my recipe here
- Amarena cherry syrup use a couple of teaspoons per panna cotta to coat the top.
- Begin by sprinkling the powdered gelatine over the water in a small bowl. Set this aside and allow this to soak through and bloom for a few minutes while you begin preparing the cream mixtures.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, half of the cream and half of the pistachio paste until smooth.
- Meanwhile in a small saucepan, whisk together the remaining cream, pistachio paste and the sugar. Heat over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is simmering.
- Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes before removing from the heat and adding the softened gelatine. Whisk until the gelatine is melted and the cream is smooth.
- Slowly pour the warm pistachio cream mixture into the cool yoghurt mixture, while continuous whisking the cool yoghurt. Whisk slowly until smooth and fully incorporated. Don't beat or whip as your goal is not to add air bubbles.
- Decant the panna cotta mixture into serving dishes or glasses. Spoon this evenly into your glasses - this recipe is enough for 4 small glasses or tea cups of panna cotta, but this number can vary based on the size of your serving containers.
- Cover the panna cottas and place in the refrigerator to set and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Once set, top each panna cotta with a couple of teaspoons of Amarena cherry syrup and a piece of pistachio brittle to serve.