Make Ahead

Rose Petal Panna Cotta

January 21, 2016
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This unusual panna cotta recipe has been in my repertoire for almost 20 years. Unlike most panna cotta, which can be heavy and dense with gelatin, this one is airy and light, and made all the more so by the whipped egg whites. It’s not stiff enough to unmold, but just set it in some pretty ramekins or small jars and you won’t need to.

Dried rose petals have a deep and evocative aroma. Traditionally used in Iranian cooking, they are used here to flavor the cream for this light, airy panna cotta, as well as added as a garnish at the end. The shavings of bitter chocolate, crunchy pistachio, and ethereal rose petals make this a perfect, romantic end to a Valentine's Day feast. —Sara Jenkins

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons tablespoons dried edible rose petals, divided
  • 3 large egg whites
  • Chopped toasted pistachios, optional
  • Shaved bittersweet chocolate, optional
  1. Combine 1/4 cup of the cream with gelatin and allow the gelatin to soften.
  2. Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar, split vanilla bean, and two tablespoons of the rose petals in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. Bring this mixture to a simmer, and cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Once the sugar has dissolved, strain the simmering cream into a bowl set inside a bowl of ice.
  4. Add the gelatin-cream mixture to the bowl.
  5. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add to the cream. Stir this mixture over the ice to bring it down to room temperature.
  6. Separately, beat the egg whites into stiff peaks, then gently fold this into the cream until well amalgamated.
  7. Stirring constantly, ladle the mixture into individual ramekins and chill until set, about 3 hours or overnight.
  8. Before serving, garnish the tops of the panna cottas with the reserved tablespoons of rose petals and the chopped toasted pistachios and shaved bittersweet chocolate (if using).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Soleil
  • Mar Pom
    Mar Pom
  • zora
  • Sara Jenkins
    Sara Jenkins

17 Reviews

judy February 23, 2016
I have lavender flowers. I wonder how that would work? I do enjoy lavender.
MichelleH February 14, 2016
Unfortunately I got little gelatin chunks in my finished panna cotta! Any idea what I did wrong? Thanks!
Sara J. February 15, 2016
you probably need to whisk it better. To tell the truth in professional kitchens we all use sheet gelatin which is so much easier to use. For some reason the conventional wisdom is that home cooks can't get it and so all recipes written for home cooks gets granulated gelatin which I think is harder to work with.
Soleil February 6, 2016
This recipe is missing one important ingredient. Rose water. A touch of rose water to that Panna Cotta would be would be purrrrfect!
Regina February 5, 2016
Can this be made ahead to transport and then transferred to individual dishes before serving?
Sara J. February 5, 2016
this panna cotta is a true spoon dessert and is not suited to transferring to a plate. its quite a delicate and wobbly texture so you really need to set it in whatever you plan to eat it out of!
Abbey S. February 4, 2016
How long would this last? I'm wondering if I could make if for dessert one night and leave it to have over the week?
Sara J. February 4, 2016
At my restaurant Porsena, we make this and keep it for 3-4 days. I am not sure how much longer it would keep but I like you're thinking!
celmore January 29, 2016
The Afghanis make a plain pudding (firni) and a rice pudding that are both flavored with cardamom and rose water (no vanilla) and served with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios. Heaven in a bowl. A delicious and refreshing counterpoint to the warm spices in an Afghan meal.
Mar P. January 28, 2016
Can I let rose petals dry to use them here or they need some other process?
Sara J. January 28, 2016
as long as they are food grade! in other words not sprayed. Commercial roses get sprayed with a lot toxic chemicals as they are not intended for consumption
Mar P. February 11, 2016
Thanks, Sara.
Ok, does it mean I can use roses from my own garden?
Still, what is the food grade for rose petals, anyway?
zora January 27, 2016
I'm definitely going to make this. And I'm thinking I'll add a couple of drops of rosewater at the end, to punch up the aroma.
Sara J. January 27, 2016
good plan, especially if the rose petals aren't vibrant enough!
zora January 26, 2016
This sounds heavenly. Do you strain it as soon as the sugar is melted, or allow the rose petals to macerate in the cream for a while to extract more flavor? Any suggestions for someone who might have concerns about uncooked egg whites--other than buy eggs directly from a farmer you know and trust?
Sara J. January 27, 2016
just buy eggs from someone you trust. you can let the rose petals macerate but the heat of melting the sugar should draw enough flavor out
tia January 29, 2016
If you have someone who would be more susceptible to food poisoning, like maybe an elderly person or a person with a compromised immune system, I would buy pasturized eggs (I can't recall if they'll whip, so check that). Even if your farmer is the person down the street that you've known forever, it's still quite possible to get contamination.