This recipe for panna cotta—Italian for “cooked cream”—is adapted from one in Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course (Random House, 2001).

Buttermilk Panna Cotta Buttermilk Panna Cotta
Buttermilk adds dimension to this otherwise standard Italian vanilla cream dessert. Dress it up with any seasonal fruit you prefer.
Yield: serves 6


  • 1 12 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 1 14 cups heavy cream
  • 7 tbsp. sugar
  • 12 pod vanilla, split lengthwise
  • 1 34 cups buttermilk


  1. Soften gelatin in 1 tbsp. cold water in a medium bowl for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put cream and sugar into a small saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla pod into pan, then add pod. Heat cream over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, 3–5 minutes, then stir into bowl with gelatin. Stir in buttermilk, then strain into another bowl.
  2. Divide custard between six 8-oz. ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. To unmold, dip ramekins into a dish of hot water, then invert custards onto plates. Garnish with raspberries or other fruit, if you like.