The traditional recipe for this ‘cooked cream’, from the Piedmont region of Italy, is made with rich thick cream. This lighter version, served with a pretty rhubarb and strawberry compote, is delightfully smooth and creamy yet much lower in fat. Prepare it the day before serving, if possible.



  • 2 cups (500 ml) low–fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatine
  • ⅓ cup (80 g) caster sugar
  • 100 ml pouring cream
  • strip of pared orange zest
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • Rhubarb and strawberry compote
  • 400 g pink rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 5 cm lengths
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 500 g ripe strawberries, sliced


  1. Pour 150 ml of the milk into a saucepan.
  2. Sprinkle over the gelatine and leave to soak, without stirring, for 5 minutes, or until spongy.
  3. Stir in the sugar, then set the pan over a low heat.
  4. Warm gently, without boiling, until the sugar and gelatine have completely dissolved, stirring frequently.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining milk, the cream and orange zest.
  6. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the milk mixture, then add the pod.
  7. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes while preparing the compote.
  8. Place the rhubarb in a saucepan with the orange juice and sugar.
  9. Bring just to a simmer, then cook gently for 3–4 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender but still holding its shape.
  10. Spoon the rhubarb into a serving dish using a draining spoon.
  11. Boil the juice remaining in the pan to reduce it slightly until syrupy.
  12. Pour the juice over the rhubarb and gently stir in the sliced strawberries.
  13. Leave to cool.
  14. Strain the milk mixture through a fine sieve into a jug, then pour into 4 moulds, cups or ramekins of 170 ml capacity.
  15. Allow to cool, then cover and chill for at least 3 hours, or until set.
  16. To serve, run the tip of a knife around the edge of each pannacotta.
  17. Place an inverted serving plate over the top of the ramekin and turn them upside down, holding the two firmly together.
  18. Lift off the ramekin.
  19. Spoon some of the compote on the side of the pannacotta.
  20. Serve the remaining compote separately.

Serves 4
Preparation: 25 minutes, plus at least 3 hours chilling
Cooking: about 5 minutes


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