Recipe: Saffron Panna Cotta

As we reach the holiday season, new desserts are the perfect way to spice up your celebrations! We collaborated with Vallery Lomas from Foodie in New York, winner of ABC's Great American Baking Show, to create this wonderful saffron panna cotta. Our favorite thing about this dish is that it's no bake, meaning your oven will be free for other food prep for holiday meals. It's quite simple to make and will make an impressive addition to any holiday culinary repertoire.

Saffron Panna Cotta

Serves 6-8
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 4 hours

1 envelope (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 and 1/2 cups heavy cream 
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Tahmina saffron threads
5 whole cardamom pods
pinch of salt
whipped cream
 flavored with a few drops of rose water, dried food-grade roses and chopped pistachios (optional, for garnish and serving)

  1. Prepare 8 (1/2 cup) ramekins or 6 small parfait dishes by arranging them on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Place the two tablespoons of cold water in the smallest pot you have. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water—the water will immediately absorb it and start to seize up. Use your finger or a small spoon to stir to make sure the gelatin has been evenly distributed. Set the saucepan over low heat and use a heatproof rubber spatula (a wooden spoon or regular spoon also work) and gently stir the gelatin until it completely dissolves, about one minute. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  3. Prepare the panna cotta by combining the cream, milk, sugar, saffron and cardamom in a medium-sized pot. Place over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until large bubbles start to expand all over the pot, about 7 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and allow the saffron and cardamom to diffuse for 15 minutes. Strain the cream into a large bowl and discard the cardamom pods and threads.
  4. If the gelatin has solidified, gently reheat on low, stirring until dissolved, about 30 seconds. Pour the melted gelatin into the cream, and stir until combined. Distribute the cream evenly among the serving dishes (ramekins or small parfait dishes). Allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Cover with plastic and transfer to the refrigerator. The panna cotta is ready to enjoy once the cream has set, which takes about 3 hours in the refrigerator. Keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to serve. This is a great make-ahead dessert, and will keep for up to three days, covered, in the refrigerator.

Check out Foodie in New York to see Vallery's other amazing dessert recipes!