Vanilla panna cotta with strawberries and grappa

Robert Thompson's gorgeous vanilla panna cotta recipe ringed with fresh strawberries makes a tremendous summer's day dessert. Robert Thompson acknowledges panna cotta's Italian descent by serving the dish with grappa, an Italian spirit made from grapes. Grappa is strong stuff, so use sparingly!




  • 3 vanilla pods
  • 150ml of milk
  • 600ml of double cream
  • 2 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water
  • 60g of caster sugar
  • 35ml of grappa
  • 1 punnet of strawberries, washed, hulled and cut into quarters
  • 6 handfuls of mint leaves


  • Fine chinoise
  • 6 ramekins



Start by splitting the vanilla pods and scraping out the seeds. Add the pods and seeds to the saucepan with the milk and cream and bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the mixture thickens to the consistency of thin natural yoghurt, this will take about 20 minutes

  • 150ml of milk
  • 600ml of double cream
  • 3 vanilla pods

Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes before adding the drained, soaked gelatine and sugar

  • 2 gelatine leaves
  • 60g of caster sugar

Whisk to dissolve and allow to cool. Strain the cool mixture through a fine chinois and add a dash of grappa to taste

  • 30ml of grappa

Chill the mix until almost starting to set before pouring into 6 ramekins. Transfer to the refrigerator and leave until fully set


To serve, quickly dip the outside of the moulds in hot water and turn out the panna cottas onto plates. Garnish with the strawberries, mint leaves and a little drizzle of grappa

Robert Thompson's cooking is full of character and classical skill.

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