This luscious vanilla panna cotta with sweet-tart strawberry rhubarb compote is a silky-smooth, elegant dessert for any spring or summer occasion! It can be served in cocktail glasses or turned upside down, and can be made a whole day ahead of time!
Any time I see panna cotta on the menu, I get it. It’s one of my very favorite desserts! I also have to admit that I commonly order 2 servings, just for myself, because one never seems to be enough.
I do the same with flan and other creamy desserts like cheesecake mousses, and I don’t care what people think. It’s how I like to reward myself – overindulging with rich, creamy desserts… and French gimlets!
This panna cotta recipe serves 8, takes just 4 hours to set, and the compote takes only 20 minutes to make! It’s also one of my Fancy & Frugal Recipes, meaning it can be made for under $25!
How to Make This Panna Cotta – Step by Step
First, Make the Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
1. Slice 1 cup of rhubarb about ½ an inch thick.
2. Slice 1 cup of strawberries also about ½ an inch thick.
3. Add strawberries and rhubarb to a small-medium saucepan. Add 2 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp. water.
4. Simmer fruit with honey and water for 15-20 minutes until smooth, stirring occasionally. Once done, place in a container with a lid and refrigerate while you make the panna cotta.
Second, Make the Panna Cotta
1. In a small bowl, add ¼ cup cold water, and 1 tbsp. powdered gelatin (1 packet Knox Gelatin). Gently stir until dissolved. Set aside.
2. In a small-medium saucepan, add 1 cup heavy cream, 2 cups whole milk, 5 tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp. real vanilla extract. Simmer and stir over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.
3. Once gently boiling, add dissolved gelatin, stir and remove from heat. Don’t allow the milk to boil for more than a minute.
4. Carefully divide panna cotta into 6 glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, simply spoon 1 tbsp. of your tasty strawberry rhubarb compote on top of the panna cotta and devour!
Rhubarb season starts around the end of May and lasts only through the first 3 weeks of June. But in some places, it can be found from April to early Summer. If your local grocery store doesn’t carry it, check your local farmer’s market.
It will stay perfect for 1 week in a refrigerated container with a lid, then it can be frozen and kept for months!
You can make panna cotta 1 whole day ahead of time! Technically, you can make it a whole 2 days ahead of time, but the surface starts to firm up and the texture becomes a bit less silky and appetizing. Also, be sure to cover the glasses with cellophane to keep as much moisture in as you can.
A Few Tips
1. You may want to use a potato masher on the compote.
If your compote is still a bit chunky after 20 minutes of simmering, simply give it a little mash with a potato masher to make it smoother.
2. If you don’t have honey…
Substitute just 1½ tbsp. of sugar instead. You might be tempted to make it sweeter, but believe me, it’s yummier on the tart side.
3. Don’t go too overboard with the compote.
It’s so tasty, and SO special, but it really overpowers the panna cotta if it’s piled on top, so just add about 1½ tbsp. to the tops of your panna cotta.
A Few More of My Sweet Treats
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Panna Cotta with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
- cutting board and sharp knife
- small-medium sauce pan
- small bowl – to melt gelatin
- 6 cocktail glasses
For the Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
- 1 cup rhubarb – sliced
- 1 cup strawberries – sliced
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. water
For the Panna Cotta
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tbsp. powdered gelatin – about 1 packet of Knox Gelatin
- 5 tbsp. white granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. real vanilla extract – I use Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract.
- ¼ cup cold water
To Make Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
- Slice 1 cup of rhubarb about ½ an inch thick, then slice 1 cup of strawberries also about ½ an inch thick.
- Add strawberries and rhubarb to a small-medium sauce pan. Add 2 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp. water. Simmer fruit with honey and water for 15-20 minutes until smooth, stirring occasionally. Once done, place in a container with a lid and refrigerate while you make the panna cotta.
To Make Panna Cotta
- In a small bowl, add ¼ cup cold water, and 1 tbsp. powdered gelatin (1 packet Knox Gelatin). Gently stir until dissolved. Set aside.
- In a small-medium sauce pan, add 1 cups heavy cream, 2 cups whole milk, 5 tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp. real vanilla extract. Simmer and stir over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Once boiling, add gelatin, stir until dissolved into the cream. Remove from heat. Don't boil for more than a minute.
- Carefully divide panna cotta into 6 glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Add about 1 tbsp. of compote to your glasses when ready to serve.