amaretto pannacotta

PhotoRecipe: Amaretto Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel

Dear Friends & Eaters,

What if you could have a dessert that married 3 things you really love? What if you loved panna cotta, creme caramel and amaretti? What if the result of this marriage was a decadent yet innovative dessert that is the bastard child of 3 of your favorite sweets?  The recipe below was born as a 3-in1… it has elements from all the 3 desserts but its own personality and a presentation that is oh-so-pretty!


For the Caramel:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of cream (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp of kosher salt

For the Pannacotta:

  • 1/2 pint of milk
  • 1/2 of half and half
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 gelatin sheets
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of amaretto di saronno


  • 18 amaretti cookies

Salted Caramel:

Place the sugar in a clean and dry pan over medium heat.  The molecular structure of the sugar will start changing with the heat. Make sure not to stir the sugar too  much. Limit the stirring to the sides of the pan (if you want you can just move the liquified sugar around in the pan with a rotating motion of the wrist but be careful because sugar burns are the worst).  When the sugar is completely liquid and starts to brown, stir so that the color is even and there are no brunt areas. You want the caramel to reach an amber color, then turn off the heat and add the butter. The caramel will foam and go a little crazy. Fear not and keep stirring.  When the butter is melted (and the caramel a little cooled), add the cream is a slow and steady pace, whisking so that it is well incorporated.  Let the caramel cool in the pan, if necessary you can reheat it. Should the caramel look grainy (because the cream was cold and it coagulated the milk solids too fast) you can whisk it until the texture is smooth(er).


Place the gelating in a bowl, cover with cold water and let sit. Place the other ingredients in a pot over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Turn off the heat. Drain and squeeze the gelatin, then add to the milk mixture and stir until dissolved.  Place the mixture in ramekins and cool in the refrigerator.


Crush 12 of the amaretti cookies. Place a teaspoon of caramel at the bottom of the plate to anchor the pannacotta.  Invert the ramekins on each plate and drizzle with more caramel. Decorate with 1 whole amaretto on each pannacotta and sprinkle with more caramel and crushed amaretti.