Almond Panna Cotta with Dark Cherry Sauce

Recipe: Almond Panna Cotta with Dark Cherry Sauce

Makes : 6 servings | Desserts
Gelatin-thickened panna cotta comes together in a cinch and offers the same smooth-textured creaminess as a long-cooked custard. The dessert needs several hours in the refrigerator to set and chill, but otherwise comes together quickly. Eat it within about 24 hours or the texture starts to loosen. Check the almond extract label to make sure it's gluten free.


  • 1 (.25 ounce) envelope powdered gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk (I use Earth's Own Almond Fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half or heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract, divided
  • 1 pound frozen pitted sweet cherries, defrosted
  • Shaved dark chocolate, for serving (optional)


  • Put 3 tablespoons of cold water in a medium bowl (large enough to eventually hold all the liquid) and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let stand for at least 2 minutes. Combine the almond milk, half and half, and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan. Put the pan over medium heat and cook until steaming. Do not boil. Pour the steaming liquid over the congealed gelatin and whisk to combine. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the almond extract.
  • Pour the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or a pitcher. Divide the mixture among six 6-ounce ramekins. Let the panna cotta cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until set and quite cold, at least 4 hours. (I put the ramekins on a baking sheet so it's easy to transfer them all to the refrigerator.)
  • While the panna cotta is chilling, make the sauce. Combine the cherries and their liquid with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon almond extract, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and cook until the cherries are warm and tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the cherries to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Raise the heat to medium-high and boil until the liquid is reduced to approximately 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes more. Pour the syrupy sauce over the cherries. Let cool to room temperature or chill. (The sauce can be made ahead. Keep it in the refrigerator, covered, for up to two days.)
  • For serving, run the blade of a thin knife around the outside edge of each panna cotta. Dip the bottom of each ramekin into a larger bowl of warm water for about 20 seconds. Invert the panna cotta onto individual plates. Serve topped with the cherry sauce (chilled or room temperature) and shavings of dark chocolate.

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