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Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Caramelized Figs

Ellen Silverman

Servings: 6 to 8

Panna cotta, a smooth custard, is typically made with cream, but this recipe adds buttermilk and fresh goat cheese for a tangy flavor.  Topped with caramelized figs, this is an unusual and elegant dessert.

This recipe is excerpted from Harvest to Heat. Read our review.


  • 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh goat cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 ripe fresh figs, cut in half


  • Sprinkle the gelatin over 4 teaspoons water to soften. Set aside.Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the heavy cream and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat but do not let boil, then turn off the heat and whisk in the softened goat cheese, whisking until the pieces of cheese are totally incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla and the softened gelatin and whisk again to dissolve the gelatin. Whisk in the buttermilk. Strain the hot mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher with a pour spout.

    Lightly grease 6 large or 8 small ramekins. Pour the mixture into the ramekins and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

    Just before serving, caramelize the figs: Dip the cut sides of the figs into the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and caramelize them with a home-use blowtorch or by placing them under a broiler, cut side up, for 1 minute.

    When ready to serve, carefully dip the bottom of each ramekin into a baking pan of hot water for about 10 seconds. Wipe the bottom of the ramekins dry, then run a thin knife around the edge of the molds to loosen the panna cotta. Set a chilled dessert plate over the top of a ramekin, then flip the plate and ramekin over at the same time, inverting the mold onto the plate. Repeat with the remaining ramekins. Garnish with the caramelized figs and serve immediately. You can also serve the panna cotta in the ramekins, with the figs on the top or alongside.


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Reviews (2 reviews)

  • akgary | 04/30/2012

    I made a plum puree from my jarred plums - put it on the top and bottom.I used 1 C light cream and 1 C heavy cream and it was fine. Might try to use ALL light cream next time.And used a vanilla bean/seeds instead of extract giving a great flavor and those nice flecks.Also added some dark rum - a nice addition.Easy and lovely and really good.BTW - this is a lovely cookbook. I already own it.

  • szaraw | 12/24/2011

    5 stars for a great dessert! Very easy to prepare and the flavor is light and sweet with a slightly tart finish. I served it with stewed strawberries in balsamic and everyone loved it!

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