Panna Cotta with Peaches

Panna cotta with peaches is exquisitely creamy and smooth. Made with heavy cream, yogurt, honey, fresh peaches, and a little bit of lemon thyme, it’s refreshing and oh so lush.

A white bowl filled with panna cotta with peaches, garnished with thyme and a spoon resting inside.

This panna cotta with peaches recipe features a soft pudding-like base mixed with almond and honey that’s topped with peaches that have been infused with lemon thyme.–The Editors of Gourmet

DO I HAVE TO UNMOLD PANNA COTTA?

Here’s what the awesome editors of Gourmet, God rest its soul, had to say about the eternally perplexing question of whether or not to unmold panna cotta: “The translation from Italian—cooked cream—doesn’t begin to convey how luscious the gently gelled sweet cream mixture called panna cotta is. The amount of gelatin determines how tender the results will be. If you don’t plan to unmold the dessert, you can play a bit with the gelatin, lowering it to a point where the panna cotta is set so softly that it holds its shape on a spoon but dissolves into a puddle on your tongue, like this one. If you want to try unmolded versions, be sure to lightly oil your molds first and chill the panna cotta well, at least 6 hours. When it’s time to turn them out, dip each mold for about 10 seconds in a bowl of warm water, then dry off the bottom before inverting it onto a plate.” We say just use pretty bowls and grab a spoon.

Panna Cotta with Peaches

A white bowl filled with panna cotta with peaches, garnished with thyme and a spoon resting inside.
This panna cotta with peaches recipe features a soft pudding-like base mixed with almond and honey that's topped with peaches that have been infused with lemon thyme.
The Editors of Gourmet

Prep 20 mins
Chill 8 hrs
Total 8 hrs 40 mins
Dessert
Italian
4 servings
427 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients 

For the panna cotta

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-ounce [7-g] envelope)
  • 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mild honey plus more for drizzling (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

For the peaches

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 peaches peeled if desired, pitted, and thinly sliced

Directions
 

Make the panna cotta

  • Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small heavy saucepan and let it stand for 1 minute to soften. Stir in the cream and salt, then heat gently over medium-low heat, stirring, until the gelatin has dissolved. Remove from the heat.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey, and almond extract, then whisk that into the cream mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into 4 small bowls, cover, and refrigerate until set, at least 6 to 8 hours and up to 3 days.

Make the peaches

  • Just before serving, mince the lemon thyme with the sugar on a cutting board. Plop the peaches in a large bowl, sprinkle with the sugared thyme, and toss. Let the peaches rest at room temperature, stirring them and their juices occasionally, for 20 minutes.

Assemble the panna cotta with peaches

  • While the peaches macerate in their juices, remove the panna cotta from the refrigerator, uncover, and let stand at room temperature.
  • Don’t unmold the panna cotta. Instead, simply top each bowl of panna cotta with some of the peaches and juice. Drizzle with additional honey, if desired.
Print RecipeBuy the Gourmet Italian cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 427kcal (21%)Carbohydrates: 36g (12%)Protein: 9g (18%)Fat: 29g (45%)Saturated Fat: 18g (113%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 105mg (35%)Sodium: 128mg (6%)Potassium: 297mg (8%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 32g (36%)Vitamin A: 1618IU (32%)Vitamin C: 12mg (15%)Calcium: 134mg (13%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Oh so easy, oh so satisfying. I have a bit of a thing with the cloying scent and flavor of almond extract, so I substituted vanilla extract and it was lovely, creamy, and the perfect base for any seasonal fruit or favorite topping. As there was nary a ripe peach in sight, I used diced ripe mangoes. When I get home to South Carolina, I'll try it as written with peaches, and maybe raspberries. Oh, and strawberries. And blueberries. You get the picture.

This panna cotta with peaches recipe had the most luscious of textures. The consistency reminded me of the best silken tofu I've ever had—so smooth, like putting velvet on your tongue. I think you really need to think about the size of peaches you choose for this panna cotta recipe. I used 3 large peaches (each about the size of a fist) that was entirely too much for 4 little bowls of panna cotta. If your peaches are small, yeah, 3 will work great.

Next time I'd lessen the amount of lemon thyme to 1 tablespoon lightly packed leaves. Also, while peeling the peaches is optional, I'd highly recommend removing the skins, as they don't look pretty and the added texture isn't a good thing.


Originally published July 18, 2014

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Comments

  1. Just wondering: Could I substitute plain Greek yogurt for the plain low-fat yogurt? If so, would any of the liquid amounts need to be adjusted? Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    I have some dietary limitations when it comes to dessert — but your recipe works perfectly for me. Thanks so much for sharing. Can’t wait to try it for myself and on dinner guests.

    1. Terrific, Nancy! I know what it’s like to have dietary restrictions and do without when everyone else indulges, so I’m incredibly pleased to hear that this works for you. Can’t wait to hear what you and your guests think of it…

  3. Hi, Thomas. I agree, agar agar can be a little finicky and takes some trial runs to ensure it provides the right consistency. More agar agar for firmer panna cotta or more liquid for softer texture. But, there are alternatives!

    Try Unflavored Vegan Jel by Natural Desserts, or Kosher Jels like Lieber’s Unflavored Gel. Both can be found on Amazon.

    One last ode to Agar Agar. I haven’t tried this, but I recently found an alternative way to make agar agar possibly work better from veganvegetariancookingschool.com

    Here’s how they use agar agar:
    1/2 cup agar agar powder (not flakes)
    1/2 cup organic cornstarch

    Combine well and store in an airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon per 1 1/2 cups of liquid for med-firm.

    Directions: Wisk Jel into 1/2 cup of liquid from the recipe, bring to a boil, boiling 1 minute, and add to recipe. Blend just until mixed and chill.

    Hope this helps.

    Eydie E. Desser
    LC Senior Tester

  4. This is the second time I’ve seen a recipe on LC which lists gelatin as an essential ingredient… not ideal for vegetarians. Is there a substitute available for gelatin that has similar properties and is not a huge amount of additional work? I know some people swear by agar agar but that can be quite fickle… so I often find myself just not making anything that requires the use of gelling agents other than naturally occurring pectin or the like.

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