First posted: Oct 2, 2013

Vanilla Coffee Panna Cotta


Which NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Flavour am I?

I love words. I always have, ever since I saw my Grade 2 teacher write the word comprehension on the blackboard and was awed by how long it is. I particularly love words steeped in stories and culture and the nuances of other languages. My first dog’s name was ‘Jolie’ which means ‘pretty’ in French, I was besotted with that little something special that the foreign name added. And there’s nothing that invokes fun, glamour and intrigue better than ‘La Dolce Vita’ (the sweet life) that Italians and their lilting Italian accents seem to have effortlessly built into their very DNA. And besides my favourite food on earth – simple strands of silky olive oil-drizzled spaghetti (with or without any other sauce, it’s irrelevant to me), they also make some cracking good coffee, and beautifully architected Espresso machines.

And a little something that I learnt today is that ‘latte macchiato’ literally means ‘stained milk’ – perfect! When you’ve filled your latte glass with hot, frothy milk and added a cheeky shot of espresso, you’ll soon see the ‘macchia’ – a delicious dot of creme sitting atop the froth. Yum.

Inspired by this, and by one of Italy’s greatest desserts, I’ve created a little something special for you to have a taste of La Dolce Vita right in your own home… and then scroll on down for competition entry details.



Cooks in:        Serves:4

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
  • Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1-2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 2.5 leaves of gelatin
  • 4 tsp instant hot chocolate powder

What to do

1. Place the caster sugar, cream, vanilla paste, cinnamon and nutmeg into a small saucepan over medium heat, stir gently until the sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat. .

2. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft, 2-3 minutes. Then gently squeeze out any excess water from the gelatine, and add it to the vanilla cream mixture, stirring until dissolved. Divide the mixture in half, and to one half add the instant espresso powder (start with 1 tsp and taste to see if you would like a stranger coffee flavour, if so add a little more) and stir until dissolved.

3. Divide the plain creamy vanilla mixture into 4 ramekins, place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until it has started to set, then pour over the coffee-flavoured cream mixture and leave the ramekins in the fridge until they are set, 2-3 hours, or until about 15 minutes before serving. 

4. Just before serving, sprinkle over a little chocolate powder.


The Panna Cotta can easily be made a day in advance and left covered with cling film in the fridge, then just add the chocolate powder just before serving.
Serve with Italian amaretti biscuits for an extra something special.

And now, all you need to do is click on which flavour yot think I am, based on the clues in the recipe above, enter your details and you stand a chance to win your very own gorgeous Dolce Gusto machine from NESCAFÉ.


Caramel Latte Macchiato




Vanilla Latte Macchiato



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