Brandy peach panna cotta is invigorating

By Emily Chavez

Luis Chavez/ Staff photographer

Panna cotta is a hot summer staple dessert that is decadent, refreshing and easy to make ahead — especially on sweltering July days. 

These can be made in the morning using just the stovetop so the kitchen doesn’t heat up from the oven. But, in the afternoon, they can be enjoyed for an invigorating, creamy afternoon dessert. 

And let’s not overlook the “wow factor” of the panna cotta’s perfect layers and individual portions, which are sure to impress your family and guests. A soft base is topped with a brandy and peach layer that creates not only distinctive layers visually but also a contrast of flavors that play off each other with the warming vanilla and brandy, refreshing peach, and cool and velvety texture. 

Brandy peach panna cotta

Active time: 1 hour | Total time: 3 hours

Yields 4 servings.


1 vanilla bean pod, scraped

3/4 cup whole milk

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

1 package unflavored gelatin

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 firm white peaches, cored and sliced

1 cup water

1/2 cup honey

1/4 of a lemon, juiced

1 cup brandy

A couple pinches of salt


Bloom the gelatin by sprinkling it over the milk and setting it aside. Do not stir. 

Bring heavy cream, both sugars and a pinch of salt to a simmer. Do not allow it to boil. Once simmering, remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin, the milk mixture and the vanilla bean seeds.

Let this panna cotta mixture cool for 10 minutes before dividing evenly into 4 ramekins or similar-sized glasses and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to set. 

While the panna cotta is firming up, place the peaches, water, honey, lemon juice, brandy and a pinch of salt in a small pan. Bring to a simmer and cook on low heat until the peaches are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally so nothing burns or sticks to the bottom. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 15 minutes. 

Check that the panna cotta is firm by lightly touching the top or jiggling each dish. 

Once the panna cotta is firm, fan out the peaches on top and ladle the remaining poaching liquid over the top. 

Serve immediately or chill up to 24 hours. 

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