Orange Blossom Panna Cotta Brûlée

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
April 16, 2024 | Updated on May 13, 2024

Orange blossom panna cotta brûlée is a silky Italian custard topped with a thin caramelized crust of sugar and honey. This panna cotta recipe has a citrusy sweetness and an indulgently rich, creamy texture so it’s a top dessert choice.

After you try this, check out my Passion Fruit Panna Cotta and Banana Creme Brulee.

overhead view of a ramekin filled with Orange Blossom Panna Cotta with a Brûlée topping

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Panna cotta is the cool, creamy, decadent dessert of your dreams. And the classic recipe is enhanced with orange blossom water, for a light, refreshing treat that’s perfect for the spring and summer. With a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of sugar, the creme brûlée topping makes this the best panna cotta recipe you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting!

Why This Panna Cotta Recipe Works

  • Great for Special Occasions – Impress your guests with a dessert thats tasty enough to be featured on an Italian restaurant menu. Whether’s it’s Valentine’s Day or a dinner party, this suits the occasion.
  • Easy to Make – Don’t let the fancy aesthetic fool you! This no bake dessert takes just 20 minutes of on-hands prep. The fridge does most of the work, as it chills and solidifies.
  • Make Ahead Recipe – This recipe has to be made in advance because it takes a few hours to properly set. However, it also lasts up to 72 hours in the fridge so make this a day or two ahead of a special event. That’s one less thing on your day-of to-do list!
close up view of a ramekin filled with Orange Blossom Panna Cotta with a Brûlée topping

What is Panna Cotta?

Panna cotta is a traditional Italian custard dessert. “Panna cotta” means cooked cream in Italian. this eggless custard is a velvety smooth, cooked cream that’s usually set with gelatin, for a slight jiggle.

Tools You’ll Need

fully set panna cotta in a jar

Panna Cotta Ingredients

Although gelatin is a key ingredient, panna cotta made without gelatin yields the same results. Agar-agar is the perfect vegetarian alternative.

  • Agar-agar – This natural gel is derived from seaweed. A little goes a long way, helping to give the custard just enough bounce so it’s not rubbery.
  • Heavy cream – This enriches the custard, lending a creamy mouthfeel.
  • Whole milk – The second part of the base for th.
  • Orange blossom water – Swap the more predictable vanilla extract with orange blossom water. This infuses the custard with floral and citrus notes for tasty depth.
  • Sugar – This sweetens the custard and helps to balance the flavors.

Panna Cotta Brûlée Toppings

  • Honey
  • Sugar
honey poured over the top of the Italian custard in a jar

How To Make Panna Cotta

To make panna cotta cream, constantly stir, gradually adding the ingredients. But first, hydrate the agar-agar.

  1. Add agar-agar, milk, heavy cream, and sugar and to a medium saucepan, add kefir (or whole milk), cream, and sugar. Warm over medium-low heat until mixture comes to a simmer, keeping a constant whisk. Cook until the mixture begins to simmer (you should see rapid small bubbles). Turn off heat then add orange blossom water. Stir until fully incorporated.
  2. Leave cream mixture to cool for 15 minutes then distribute among 4 ramekins and place in the refrigerator to set for 4 hours or overnight.

Honey Brûlée Topping

  1. When ready to serve, top each panna cotta with a thin layer of honey.
  2. Then add enough sugar to cover the top with a think layer of sugar.
  3. Carefully torch in a circular motion, 4 inches away from the top, until sugar melts and turns an amber color. Serve immediately.
honey and sugar sprinkled over jars of panna cotta, prior to caramelization

Tips and Tricks

  • Constantly whisk the cream mixture as it warms. This ensure an even distribution of the ingredients and prevents lumps from forming.
  • Allow the dessert to set for at least 4 hours in the fridge. Overnight is ideal.
  • If the panna cotta does not fully set, simply add it back to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer then transfer it back to the ramekin.
  • When caramelizing the sugar topping, use a kitchen torch in a circular motion. Also, maintain a safe distance to prevent burning and ensure an evenly caramelized crust.
  • Panna cotta tastes best served directly out of the fridge. Once the brûlée topping sets, serve immediately.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container or tightly wrap each ramekin with plastic wrap. Keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Tips for Making Panna Cotta with Agar-Agar

  • Do the agar-agar test. Activate it by testing a small spoonful on a cold plate. If the cream sets, then you’re good to pour into ramekins.
  • Agar-agar needs enough time and water to fully hydrate. If agar-agar mixture looks gritty, simply add more water to thin it out and set aside for 5 minutes before adding to the remaining ingredients.
  • Agar-agar needs to cook to near boiling temp in order to fully activate. Otherwise, the panna cotta will not fully set.
two jars of panna cotta with brûlée topping

Variations

Although I love this orange blossom variation, there are so many ways to flavor this dessert.

  • Mango – Use mango puree for mango panna cotta.
  • Chocolate – Add cocoa to the cream mixture for a chocolatey treat.
  • Vanilla Vanilla extact is a key ingredient in the classic dessert.
  • Toppings Try fruit toppings like fresh strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries. You could try orange zest, caramel, or even mint leaves for garnish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is panna cotta made with?

Use cream, milk, sugar, and a thickener (like agar-agar or gelatin) to make panna cotta.

What’s the difference between creme brulee and panna cotta?

Creme brulee is thicker and creamier than panna cotta, which has a softer, more gelatinous consistency. Creme brulee is a baked dessert made with egg yolks, whereas panna cotta is cooked on the stovetop, without eggs.

Is panna cotta the same as pudding?

Panna cotta is not pudding but more like it’s elegant cousin. It’s a bit thicker and has more shape than pudding. And while pudding can be thickened with egg yolks, cornstarch or flour, panna cotta never contains eggs and is usally made with gelatin.

panna cotta in jars with brûlée topping

Looking for More Dessert Recipes?

two jars of panna cotta with one jar in focus, with brûlée topping cracked to reveal smooth cream underneath

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overhead view of a ramekin filled with Orange Blossom Panna Cotta with a Brûlée topping

Orange Blossom Panna Cotta Brûlée

Orange blossom panna cotta brûlée is a silky Italian custard topped with a thin caramelized crust of sugar and honey. This panna cotta recipe has a citrusy sweetness and an indulgently rich, creamy texture so it's a top dessert choice.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chil 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian

Equipment

  • saucepan
  • Candy Thermometer
  • 4 5-Ounce Ramekins
  • Kitchen Torch

Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoons agar-agar
  • cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • teaspoons orange blossom water

Brûlée Topping

  • honey
  • sugar

Instructions

  • Add agar-agar, milk, heavy cream, and sugar and to a medium saucepan, add kefir (or whole milk), cream, and sugar. Warm over medium-low heat until mixture comes to a simmer, keeping a constant whisk. Cook until the mixture begins to simmer (you should see rapid small bubbles). Turn off heat then add orange blossom water. Stir until fully incorporated.
  • Leave cream mixture to cool for 15 minutes then distribute among 4 ramekins and place in the refrigerator to set for 4 hours or overnight.

Honey Brûlée Topping

  • When ready to serve, top each panna cotta with a thin layer of honey and enough sugar to cover the top in a thin layer. Carefully torch in a circular motion, 4 inches away from the top, until sugar melts and turns an amber color. Serve immediately.
Keywords How to make panna cotta, panna cotta, Panna cotta cream, panna cotta ingredients, panna cotta recipe, panna cotta recipe Italian, panna cotta recipe without gelatin, Panna cotta toppings, What is panna cotta
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overhead view of a ramekin filled with Orange Blossom Panna Cotta with a Brûlée topping

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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