Passion Fruit, Cardamom and Ginger Panna Cotta

Who prefers light desserts to heavy puddings? I do; particularly during the festive holiday season when the odd additional course creeps in to ambitious holiday menus. This cheeky light little number has been a surprising hit when entertaining. On top of that, it’s gluten-free.

Perhaps not everyone wants such a light, mini dessert. “What? Is that it?” So cue the macaron. Or two; or three; or six (I never could count.) Et voilà – let’s keep all our holiday elves happy: those watching their waistlines can have a dainty sweet ending, while the others don’t need to let it end and can help themselves to a tray of macarons on the side. No guesses which characteristics are male or female…

I call these pas-de-panique panna cottas since they’re so quick to make and deliciously versatile. Serve them in stemmed glasses and you have a light and tasty dessert; serve them in small shot glasses (the French call them verrines, invented by Philippe Conticini of the Pâtisserie des Rêves) and you have great little party desserts.

However, add a few Parisian macarons and they’re instantly transported to seriously chic French elegance. Accompany them with exotic fruit & coconut macarons, chocolate & exotic fruit macarons (see page 89 of the book) or even chocolate, cardamom & ginger macarons (see page 56.)

I found a classic panna cotta recipe in the Elle magazine at the hairdressers recently – don’t ask me any more information, as I was more interested in Matthew, my coiffeur, scalping me instead of what I think I had asked for. Somehow my French at the hairdressers has never improved. Another story. What I loved was that the recipe was lightly infused with cardamom. It just needed Jilled (we all love adding our own personal note, n’est-ce pas?) So I added a touch of stemmed ginger (who else is a ginger addict as well as macaronivore?) and passion fruit  – especially as we’re spoiled for choice with exotic fruits at the farmers’ markets just now.

Dig through the passionfruit and taste a cardamom-infused velvety cream, then hit a glacé ginger layer at the bottom for an extra surprising finale.

Who didn’t iron that tablecloth?

Passion Fruit, Cardamom and Ginger Panna Cotta

Serves 8 verrines or 4 medium stemmed glasses

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time:
15 minutes
Chilling Time:
2 hours

3 gelatine leaves (2g each)
400 ml single cream
100 ml whole milk
4 tbsps caster sugar
12 cardamom pods
1 tbsp glacé ginger
4 passionfruits

  1. Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Heat together the cream and milk in a pan with the cardamom pods and the sugar.
  3. Crush the pods with the back of a spoon to release the grains, then strain out the pod skins.
  4. Squeeze in the gelatine and stir to dissolve into the warm cream.
  5. Place ginger cubes at the bottom of each serving glass and pour on the cream.
  6. Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  7. When ready to serve, spoon on the pulp of half a passionfruit on each pannacotta.

There is no end to the variations you can make with this easy dessert.
For example, try lemon and ginger pannacottas: simply replace the cardamom with the finely grated rind of an untreated lemon and serve with lemon meringue macarons (page 41).

Just let your imagination take over and have fun.

36 replies
  1. Spinneys Cauldron
    Spinneys Cauldron says:

    Mmmmm well as I’ve bought your book for 4 friends for Christmas 🙂 think I’ll treat the girls to this gorgeous dessert as ahem one of the choices on our ‘girlie’ Christmas evening. Amazing. . . will retrieve your gorgeous book from the book shelf & commence my culinary adventures. Oooh think I may owe you an email too 🙂 .. be in touch soon lovely lady ..lets catch up xxx

  2. Amy
    Amy says:

    Hi Jill! A lovely combination of desserts you have here! I would love this because I crave something creamy, yet something a little crisp and sweet like a macaroon! They are both beautiful on the tray next to each other, and passionfruit makes them slightly exotic! Hope you have a wonderful rest of the week :)!

  3. parisbreakfast
    parisbreakfast says:

    Gorgeous looking even though ‘gorgeous’ means multi-colored.
    These are definitely multi-flavored!
    I wish you would move to New York so we could have some seriously chic French elegance on a regular basis…

  4. Parsley Sage
    Parsley Sage says:

    Why ARE your photos so small!? I want to see these delicious brilliant fabulous perfect for the holidays panna cottas! I’m definitely the desserter that would want the try of macarons with…so naughty 🙂

  5. Kim Bee
    Kim Bee says:

    Jill you really knocked my socks off here. This panna cotta is so amazing. Add those macaroons and it’s like heaven. You sure know how to entertain. I’d be a giddy schoolgirl to have a meal cooked by you with such wonderful desserts to finish off the evening. I now feel like a slacker.

  6. visda
    visda says:

    Panna cotta is one of my desserts, and cardamon is my favorite spice! What a fantastic combination and then you don’t stop there and you pair it with those magnificent macarons?!!! mmmmmmmm.

  7. shaz
    shaz says:

    I love panna cotta. It’s so easy to make yet when dressed up, it looks all fancy 🙂 I am a ginger fiend too, and adore passionfruit. Great flavour ideas, will definitely try it out next time I make panna cotta.

  8. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Oohh I love the hint of ginger. I already love cardamom and passionfruit. This is a lovely pannacotta Jill! If the picture is bigger than this, I won’t be able to just look at the dessert and I’d buy a ticket to Paris right away. LOL. Not sure which WordPress you are using, but do you see Media? Can you change the image sizes there? I’m hoping to help you with that…

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Oh, thank you so much for your advice, Nami. I can see “media” but nothing can be changed, it seems. The only action I can make is delete! Guess I shouldn’t hit that one, eh? I think it’s just the way the website has been set up. The designer could probably tell I was no use at the technical side. 🙂

  9. Biren @ Roti n Rice
    Biren @ Roti n Rice says:

    Panna cotta is relatively new to me. Only discovered it when I started blogging but it is one of my favorites these days. It is light, tasty, and quite easy to make. Love the use of shot glasses for a petite size dessert and crystallized ginger at the bottom of the glass. Sounds really yummy!

  10. Anne@frommysweetheart
    [email protected] says:

    Jill…these are lovely and elegant, particularly paired with your macarons. I love the little shot glasses…a perfect size particularly after any meal. And adding cardamom to me is such a special treat. I love working with it! Hope everything worked out at the hairdresser! : )

  11. Liz
    Liz says:

    Mmmmmm, I’d love to sample your tropical panacotta, Jill. And I had to laugh at your captions…it’s usually the napkins in my photos that need a little pressing :/

  12. FreeSpiritEater
    FreeSpiritEater says:

    What a fabulous panna cotta! Great combination of flavors, and the addition of macarons makes it just that much fancier. I giggled when I read the term “macaronivore”,love it. Thanks for sharing your story and recipe, sorry about the haircut =/

  13. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen
    Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says:

    I love it! You’ve given us a new verb: “To Jill” something is to vastly improve upon it. What a gorgeous pas-de-paniqueotta! I love light desserts and I adore pannacotta and every one of the exotic flavours you’ve blended. I love the verine presentation too – very French!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Gosh, Hester. That wasn’t meant to come across that way. Normally to be Jilled in our house means to get a shouting at by me (aka the French Police!)

  14. Vicki Bensinger
    Vicki Bensinger says:

    These look positively delicious and simple to prepare. I love the recipes in the back of Elle magazine. I’ve found lots of great ones there. Hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving with your family as much as I did. Now to try and watch what I eat the rest of the year.



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