Panna cotta ice cream with espresso sauce

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Rosana McPhee recalls Italian flavours in this glorious panna cotta ice cream recipe, served with a decadent espresso sauce for a perfect after dinner treat.

First published in 2015

I went to Italy last year with Celebrity Cruises, and I enjoyed the adventure immensely. One city that really caught my heart was Rome, what a spectacular city! From museums and ancient ruins to basilicas, Rome delivered an eye-full of wonders and delightful sights.

It was October so you would assume Summer was over, but no! It was hot and humid. The scorching sun and the sheer amount of people sightseeing in the city made this adventure a little bit challenging, especially in the confined Sistine Chapel. But even that was amazing, and worth it. Afterwards, we headed for a well-deserved ice cream, one of my favourite foods.

The ice cream parlours and their selections are to die for in Italy. The displays are so pretty; it just makes you want to taste them all! One ice cream flavour that I enjoyed in Italy was panna cotta, an homage after the famous Italian dessert of the same name. Panna means cream and cotta means cooked – cooked cream set by the help of gelatine. Here is an ice cream version I made back home and enjoyed while dreaming and plotting my next Italian adventure...




Panna cotta ice cream

  • 450ml of whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 180ml of double cream
  • 1 pinch of salt

Espresso sauce (makes about 300ml of sauce)

  • 75ml of coffee, very strong
  • 100g of water
  • 100g of sugar
  • 25ml of coffee liqueur, optional


In a pan, add 235ml of the milk, salt and vanilla pod cut lengthways and its scraped seeds. Simmer the milk until small bubbles form around the edges, switch off the heat and allow it almost cool. Pass through a sieve
In a standing mixer, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the egg mixture is light, pale and fluffy
With the mixer running slowly, drizzle the almost cold milk mixture into the egg mixture. Combine this mixture well. The milk should be almost cold, so this mixture doesn't become scrambled eggs!
Once the mixture is well combined, slowly pour in the rest of the milk and double cream
Pour the mixture back into the pan and simmer, stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon - this should take 10-15 minutes
Place the mixture in the fridge overnight and churn in an ice cream machine the next day
For the espresso sauce, mix the water, sugar and strong coffee in a pan over low heat and let the sugar dissolve completely and thicken the liquid, forming a syrup
Switch off the heat and add the coffee liqueur. Serve warm or cold over the panna cotta Ice cream
First published in 2015

Brazilian food and travel blogger, living in London.

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