Sour Cherry Panna Cotta

Sour Cherry Panna Cotta

A faster than lightening Italian panna cotta with a beautiful velvety texture, topped with a sour cherry sauce made with Croatian cherry wine and pistachios, all providing every texture and complimentary flavor imaginable for your summer dessert from the refrigerator. Best of all, no ovens required!

Two Feasts are Better than One

I love doing collaborations. I’m pretty new at it though. Being shy by nature, even when hiding behind a phone screen, I don’t invite myself over too much, but I love and need to connect with other bloggers, bakers, cooks, writers, and food photographers so I gave it another shot.

Another shot, since my first collaboration was, simply put, awesome. I found a great friend in Carol(ina) of Prairie & Pampa, where we both made plum tarts, hers a plum & orange blossom cream tart and mine a Croatian plum custard tart. I was ready to reach out again, and luckily I noticed an account called Roaming Taste. She often made lovely tarts, clafoutis, and rustic bakes, and she was always so kind when I posted, so I did reach out.

Turns out she is a New Zealander who lives in London. I thought to try something Croatian or Turkish or somewhere we could both get excited about. It wasn’t about the country of origin, though. It was about the sun burning through the window like a rusty nail…

Summer “Baking”

Oh, summer is baking, alright. Baking my brain until it is a charred over nightmare of overheated thoughts, thoughts that dream of the fall leaves, the holidays, and the winter of citrus filled baking. When Sylvie of Roaming Taste and I discussed what to make, we decided to keep it light, and mostly or totally oven free, for our own sakes.

I tend towards Italian sweets, and what I call special sweets (a category on A Quarrel of Feasts), leaning towards ice creams, mousse, etc. Dairy centric. We settled on Italian Panna Cotta. Meaning “cooked cream,” Panna Cotta is really as simple as it seems.

Panna Cotta is made over a stove (a little hot, but still better than an oven) with sweetened cream and thickened up with gelatin. For some reason, baking with gelatin makes me nervous. It is a pesky little powder that I have, and I can only hope it sets correctly. On top of that Panna Cotta, you can infuse with any ingredients and flavors you like.

Sweet & Sour

I was going thematically Croatian with mine. Other than plums, Croatians love cherries, especially sour cherries. I happened to see a barrel of adorable little sour cherries staring back at me.

I whipped up a little sour cherry sauce on the stove (again!) using my Croatian cherry wine. Once it was cooled, and my Panna Cotta was solid and set, I spooned the cherry sauce on top and topped with some pistachios. Christmas colors unconsciously made their way into my photo and recipe.

Roaming Taste also went for native flavors. She is from New Zealand, and topped her Manuka Honey and Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Hokey Pokey honeycomb crumble on top. I wish we lived nearer to each other and could taste our respective Panna Cottas instead of just look at pretty photos, though the photos speak volumes!

I’m so happy to share this cool & sweet Sour Cherry Panna Conna here and Roaming Taste’s Maunka Honey, Vanilla, and Hokey Pokey Honeycomb Crumble Panna Cotta at Try one, try both, and don’t touch that oven until it falls under 90 degrees;)

Sour Cherry Panna Cotta

A faster than lightening Italian panna cotta with a beautiful velvety texture, topped with a sour cherry sauce made with Croatian cherry wine and pistachios, all providing every texture and complimentary flavor imaginable for your summer dessert from the refrigerator. Best of all, no ovens required!
Prep Time 25 mins
Chilling Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Croatian, Italian
Servings 6


  • Small ice cream dishes or mini mason / jam jars work great. If you have the courage, molds are great vehicles for panna cotta. Just make sure they are really set before turning them out!


Panna Cotta

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp gelatin powder
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Sour Cherry Sauce

  • cups sour cherries, pitted and chopped in halves or thirds
  • ¼ cup Croatian cherry wine (you could also use Kirsch or brandy or whatever flavor you want)
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of Two lemons
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • chopped pistachios for serving


For the Panna Cotta

  • Grease your molds or dishes. Add half the heavy cream to a saucepan, along with the gelatin. Whisk it until the gelatin dissolves.
  • Over lower heat, add in the sugar and mix until dissolved. You can touch the top of the cream and rub your fingers — as long as nothing grainy there, you are good to go.
  • Remove from the heat and add in the other half of the cream, the vanilla, and the pinch of salt. Divide the cream to your receptacles, whether dishes or molds.
  • Loosely wrap in plastic and refrigerate until they are set. It was a really hot day where I was, and it took over four hours, so make sure you have the time!

For the Sour Cherry Sauce

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add the pitted and chopped sour cherries, Croatian cherry wine or liquor of choice, sugar, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Whisk together until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Bring just under a boil, but make sure it continues on a low simmer, no pops or major bubbles. Stir and allow to thicken so you can coat the back of the spoon. This shouldn't take more than 5-7 minutes.
  • Mix the cornstarch with the water until dissolved. Add to the sour cherry sauce, stir in completely and allow to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool completely, cover with plastic wrap (I like to let it touch the sauce to prevent a skin), and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Once both elements are ready, spoon the sour cherry sauce over the Panna Cotta and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios. If not serving right away, keep covered with plastic. These Sour Cherry Panna Cotta keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week!
Keyword cherries, chilled, gelatin, no bake, panna cotta, sour cherries, sour cream, summer dessert

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