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Kaffir Lime Panna Cotta with Lime Syrup and Fresh Strawberries

I’ve been meaning to make panna cotta for ages, but I never got around to getting the special moulds so the panna cotta project kept being put on the back burner. But when I tasted Marion’s Grasby’s kaffir lime panna cotta at the Good Food and Wine Show in Melbourne, I just knew I had to finally make some at home.

Created by Masterchef’s former contestant and available at the Show’s Oxford Landing Estates Restaurant for $8, the creamy kaffir lime panna cotta was beautifully fragrant and so delightfully different from the traditional vanilla bean version.  Drizzled with lime syrup to cut through the creamy richness of the dessert and topped with chopped, fresh strawberries it was a pleasure to look at and, even more so, to eat.

I didn’t have a recipe to recreate the dessert, so I did some research on a basic panna cotta to get the rough idea of the proportions of cream and milk and adapt the rest.  I reduced the amount of sugar and changed the vanilla bean to kaffir lime leaves. I also adjusted the amount of gelatine further – I wanted creamy, not jelly-like. The rest was pretty straight forward. And delicious, I might add. And so moreish.

Now, the other best thing I discovered about the panna cotta sold at the show was that it was served in stemless wine glasses.  No need to fiddle with moulds, worrying about torn or stuck edges – that’s the sort of easy entertaining I like. Genius!

Since drafting this post, I have found Marion’s original kaffir lime panna cotta recipe in July’s issue of Masterchef Magazine, which features a few recipes from her new book, Marion Recipes and stories from a hungry cook, (Pan MacMillan, A$14.99 as eBook).

Makes 4 dessert serves or 8 canapés

Kaffir lime panna cotta with lime syrup and fresh strawberries

You can use panna cotta moulds if you like, but I prefer the ease of setting and serving the dessert in stemless wine glasses or shot glasses if you want a smaller, canapé-style serving. Also, I don’t mind using powdered gelatine – it is more widely available and when used sparingly it sets the liquid without feeling rubbery.

Panna cotta

  • 1  1/2 cups fresh cream
  • 1/2 cup full fat milk
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2  1/2 tsp gelatine powder
  • 2 tbsp boiling water

Lime syrup and strawberries

  • Juice of 1 lime (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 6-8 (120g) fresh strawberries

To make panna cotta: place cream, milk and roughly chopped kaffir lime leaves into a medium saucepan. Cook on low heat until the mixture comes up to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to infuse for 15-20 minutes, whisking from time to time to prevent the “skin” from forming.

Remove kaffir lime leaves and discard. Return saucepan to the heat and mix in sugar until it is dissolved. Turn off the heat. Dissolve gelatine in boiling water, removing any lumps that may form. Add gelatine to the hot cream mixture and whisk to combine. Divide mixture between your choice of glassware, or panna cotta moulds. Allow to set in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.

To prepare lime syrup and strawberries: wash and hull strawberries. Slice then chop them into a fine dice. Set aside. Mix water with sugar until sugar dissolves. Add lime juice and mix.

To serve: top each panna cotta with freshly diced strawberries and pour over some sugar syrup (1 tablespoon each for a dessert serve, 1 teaspoon each for canapés). Enjoy right away or store in the fridge to consume within 24 hours.


Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide July 3, 2011 at 8:56 am

I just did a quick scroll through. I can’t look too long. I just can’t. It looks so good and strawberry season is but a memory. Bookmarked for next year.

Wholesome Cook July 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

Glad you’ve bookmarked! I just spotted these beautiful berries at a local market and had to buy them! It’s not peak season but they are awesome!

lawfullyweddedwife July 3, 2011 at 10:58 am

Beautiful! Looks so delicious, I have never made panna cotta before but I do love it.

Wholesome Cook July 3, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I was the same before I made this one. It’s quite easy actually, easier than I expected!

Heidi @ Food Doodles July 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Those look beautiful! We still have lovely local strawberries here. Yum :)

Wholesome Cook July 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Enjoy! :-)

Sara @ Belly Rumbles July 3, 2011 at 8:54 pm

They look so lovely & I bought the most gorgeous strawberries recently, so my taste buds are all tingly.

Wholesome Cook July 3, 2011 at 9:03 pm

It really is a wonderful flavour combination – so fresh!

Dressed and Eaten July 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I tried this on Saturday at the good food and wine show in Sydney. So beautiful. Love that they provided us with the recipes for the dishes they had available. Looking forward to making it. Unfortunately, it was served in ramekins not in the glasses. Quite a small serving.

Wholesome Cook July 4, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I’ve noticed the tiny servings in Sydney, my entree in Melbourne was quite substantial whereas in Sydney it consisted of 3 tiny slices of kingfish… Somewhat disappointing.

Maureen July 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm

This looks delicious! Pick your own strawberry season started last week on the Sunshine Coast.. perfect to use with this panna cotta

Wholesome Cook July 4, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Oooh jealous!!! Although my friend’s parents have a strawberry farm on the outskirts of Sydney so when the season starts here, I’m going with a couple of wicker baskets to pick some fresh gorgeous berries.

Claudine July 5, 2011 at 11:38 am

Thanks for posting the recipe! We’re making this for dessert tonight!

Wholesome Cook July 5, 2011 at 11:41 am

Oooh, nice! Enjoy :-)

Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi July 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm

What a delicious take on panna cotta! I’ve also just got my hands on some super juicy (and giant) strawberries. I was going to dip them in chocolate — but the lime syrup’s won me over.

Phuoc'n Delicious July 8, 2011 at 10:26 am

Pannacotta is one of my favourite desserts, if done well. These look great Martyna! Nice presentation of them in the glasses. Easy entertaining indeed :)

Wholesome Cook July 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Thanks Phuoc! I’ve always thought it was time consuming to make, but it’s so quick and delicious! Just a little heavy on the fat so definitely a once in a while treat.

Olga @ MangoTomato July 11, 2011 at 11:21 am

those look beautiful! although I think you can use whatever ramekins you have for making panna cotta. I’ve made a buttermilk panna cotta once and loved it.

[email protected] July 16, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Looks delicious! great photos x

Honey Lavender Panna Cotta | Tabemasu August 16, 2011 at 9:37 am

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Blender Reviews August 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm

This looks absolutely amazing! I have never had any luck with panna cotta as I just can’t get it to set, but you’ve inspired me to give it another try!

Jess September 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Hi, I’m lactose intolerant but a HUGE fan of panna cotta.
Could I substitute the cream for coconut milk/cream and the milk for soy/almond/rice/lactose free milk?

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook September 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Hi Jess, thanks for your question! I have not tested a non-dairy version of this but I can’t see why you couldn’t use coconut cream, or a blend with a dairy-free milk. You might need to play around with the ratios but it should work! Let me know how you go, I’d love to update the recipe with your findings if you do :-)


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