Grape and moscato jelly panna cotta with honey and vanilla florentines

Panna cotta is something that I have always wanted to make. Not just any panna cotta, mind you, but one that is creamy and wobbly and heady with vanilla. Luckily, panna cotta is one component of this month’s Daring Bakers challenge. Though I’d never made on myself, I’ve eaten enough panna cottas to know what a goooood one is! So far, the panna cotta at Lark Hill has been my favourite. So I had quite high expectations for my own attempt.

I knew I wanted to make a vanilla panna cotta without overcomplicating its flavour, so a moscato jelly was a way to spruce it up! I’m not a big wine drinker, but I do like something sweet and chilled, so moscato is high on my list. Soy has much more developed wine tastebuds, and loves a big red, so she always turns down my offers to have a glass of moscato with me :( In the jelly though, I found that the flavour came out much more than just drinking it. Unfortunately, Soy was not converted, but everyone else who tried this panna cotta thought that the floral scent of the moscato jelly and sweet grapes paired beautifully with the creamy vanilla in the panna cotta.

The other component for the challenge is florentine cookies. At first I thought it was unusual to put panna cotta and florentines together. Mallory described it as “creamy, dreamy, crunchy”, but even then I was sceptical. Carrying through the vanilla and honey flavours to the florentines, the smell permeating out of the oven when these cookies were baking was heavenly. If what you hear about baking smells influencing someone’s decision whether or not to buy a house, I strongly advise any of you who are trying to sell a house to bake these babies!

I love oaty cookies, and these florentines were crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I scooped up a mouthful of panna cotta with the florentines, and then I finally got where Mallory was coming from. The contrast in textures of the creamy panna cotta and the crunchy biscuit was beautiful, and because the flavours in each of them matched the other, they were a perfect match.

I rate the level of acceptability of panna cottas on a wobble scale. And I am proud to say that this panna cotta would put any blubber to shame! Soy and I actually took a video of us wobbling this panna cotta! It was hilarious, and it’s a shame that we can’t share that moment with you through photographs.

So I would recommend this panna cotta and these florentines to everyone! And if you are sceptical about having them together like I was, just give them a go! I totally got it once I tried it. Have you been sceptical of a dish or flavour and then changed you mind when you gave it a go?

Blog-checking lines: The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Grape and Moscato Jelly Panna Cotta and Honey and Vanilla Florentines

Here are the recipes as I’ve adapted them.

Moscato jelly

from Australian Gourmet Traveller

110 gm (½ cup) white sugar
750 ml (3 cups) Moscato d’Asti (see note)
4 leaves gelatine (titanium strength), softened in cold water
small grapes halved, seeds removed to garnish

Combine sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute. Combine sugar syrup and Moscato in a bowl. Measure 1 cup Moscato mixture and warm in a saucepan over medium heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to pan and stir until dissolved. Add gelatine mixture to remaining Moscato mixture in bowl. Line the bottom of your panna cotta mould with grape halves, then pour the moscato jelly mixture over carefully. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

Vanilla panna cotta

1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) (4 sheets) unflavored powdered gelatin or agar agar for a vegetarian version
3 cups (720 ml) pure cream (30+% butterfat)
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar
pinch of salt

scraped seeds from 1 vanilla bean


  1. Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
  2. Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes.
  3. Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn’t boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into your prepared moulds over the set jelly.
  5. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Florentine cookies

2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
120 gm granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate

Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat. To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, honey, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Drop a teaspoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula. These cookies spread out A LOT so make sure you leave plenty of space between them.

Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

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  • InTolerant Chef

    Wish we could see the wobble too! It does look lovely though, Yumm…

  • Hannah

    Wow! What a gorgeous light, fluffy texture! You can tell even from the photos :) I’ve only ordered/eaten pannacotta once in my life and it was so dense I pretty much was cutting it with your spoon. And it didn’t come with gorgeous cookies, either!

  • Renata

    I love your creativity with this Panna Cotta! The flavors, the crystal clear gelee showing the beautiful fresh grapes… just beautiful!

  • Faith

    What a beautiful dish! I love how every component was so well thought out…I really love the addition of florentines for a little crunch!

  • Heidi – Apples Under My Bed

    Oh this is just my kind of dessert! Perfection. Wobbly goodness :)
    Heidi xo

  • Buttercreambarbie

    it looks so fresh, beautiful and delicious. nice job this month :)

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Great job on your Daring Bakers entry! I am also not a big drinker but like moscato :)