Recipe: Pear and Espresso Panna Cotta

What do you get when you put together milk, sugar, espresso, whip cream and….PEARS? Hold up, did we just say pears? Yes, an odd combination but the Pear and Espresso Panna Cotta is a silky smooth and creamy treat with a thin layer of tender espresso soaked pears making you wonder why you never thought of this ingenious yet delectable tasty tease.


Yields 2 servings
  • 1/3 cup espresso coffee
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 small pear, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatine
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Place the coffee and the sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Please, please, please: use good espresso not drip coffee! Add the pear slices and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender and the syrup has thickened slightly.
  2. Place the pears on the base of 2 lightly greased ramekins. Pour the syrup evenly over them and allow to cool at room temperature.
  3. Put the gelatine and the 2 tbsp of milk in a small bowl. Stir to combine and let stand for 2-3 minutes, until the gelatine has dissolved.
  4. Place the cream, the extra milk, the brown sugar and the vanilla extract in a pot over medium heat and bring to boil. Remove from the heat, add the gelatine and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool.
  5. Slowly pour the cream mixture over the pears and syrup. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours over overnight.
Note: If you have a hard time unmolding the panna cotta from the ramekins, run the bottom and side of the ramekins under hot water for a couple of minutes.

Recipe:  Donna Hay Magazine

4 comments for “Recipe: Pear and Espresso Panna Cotta

  1. Quixotequest
    June 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I’d probably favor using fine white sugar so that the pears and espresso flavor notes can do the talking. Yet, if a sugar with more flavor structure is desired I’d imagine Turbinado (raw organic) would be the better choice than brown sugar.

    Still pretty intriguing idea: pears and espresso. If the espresso has a citrus edge I’d choose a red or green Anjou pear; If the espresso has an earthy or floral edge, probably a Comice, red Bartlett or Bosc; If chocolate or caramel notes, then a Concorde or green Bartlett.

    • Kat
      June 9, 2011 at 11:36 am

      Love your thoughts on pairing the pear (!) and espresso variety. If you experiment and find some specifically splendid results, please share! I’m going to incorporate that into my next batch.

      - Kat

  2. Quixotequest
    June 9, 2011 at 11:58 am

    You’re welcome; I’m food-geeky. That’s why I’m your customer. :-)

    Just imagining the pairings in my head since I haven’t actually tried an espresso/pear mix. But it’s the kind of thing you’d consider for cheese and wine, so espresso seems a natural fit.

    I’d also likely skip the vanilla — and shoot for brandy, whiskey, sherry or cognac — unless one is using an espresso with more chocolately, caramel or citrus notes, in which case I’d try vanilla or rum. If one is using whole vanilla bean or vanilla essence that identifies what vanilla variety, then Tahitian vanilla would be the better choice for floral espresso and Bourbon/Madagascar for earthy. Again, citrusy or chocolatey would be the most flexible espresso in which case Mexican, Bourbon or common blended vanilla essences would probably work.

    • Kat
      June 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      It all sounds very lovely. Please experiment and invite me over ;) I’m a great guest!

      - Kat

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