Layered Panna Cotta

by Daniela

Panna Cotta is so delicious and easy to make! It is one of the nicest light desserts you can prepare at home. This simple Layered Panna Cotta recipe combines the chocolate and vanilla tastes nicely. The sweet and sour morello cherry jam on top is bringing this dessert to another level!

layered panna cotta on a white plate

What is this dessert made of

The literal translation of panna cotta from Italian is “cooked cream”. The name explains it very well: this delicious dessert is made of cream that has been cooked. In order to obtain the consistency of a custard, it is thickened with gelatine. There are literally hundreds of panna cotta flavouring and garnishing options, since once you have the creamy custard base, you can add almost anything to it. The current recipe is for a simple Panna Cotta with two layers: chocolate and vanilla.

panna cotta with jam on a plate and a cup of coffee on a side

Why is this recipe good

Even if you are not a fan of jelly desserts, it is hard not to like panna cotta. With this recipe you will make a dessert with a creamy and velvety texture. If you always like to order a mix of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, this is the right recipe for you: it has them both together. The morello cherry jam on top is a very nice additional touch. You can skip it but trust me, it’s worth it! The sweet and sour taste really makes a difference. Last but not least, this recipe is very easy: takes just minutes to prepare. Just beware that for correct layering you would need to wait for the first layer to thicken, before adding the new one.

layered panna cotta - in a cup, a glass, served with coffee -collalge

Recipe tips

One thing you should always avoid when making panna cotta is to add too much gelatine or too much sugar. The excess of both ingredients can really ruin the dessert. You need just a little of them in order to make it good. And it takes some time for the gelatine to work in the fridge, so be patient.

Another thing about the gelatine you need to know is not to place it over direct heat (stove). Always dissolve it on a double boiler, which means to place it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and mix until completely dissolved.

layered panna cotta in a cognac glass with jam on top

Serving suggestions

You can serve this layered panna cotta in tall glasses or in small ramequins. In the first case just top the glasses with the jam and serve. In the second case invert the dessert over a plate, after running a knife around the edges, and then top it with the jam.

layered panna cotta on a plate and a spoon taking from it

No matter how you serve this fantastic panna cotta, I am sure you will love it! Simple, tasty, elegant and easy to make: what better than that!

If you liked this recipe, check out also my other panna cotta recipes in the blog:

Thyme Infused Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Honey Lemon Panna Cotta with Blueberry Jam

Orange Berry Panna Cotta Tart (healthy and sugar free)

layered panna cotta on a plate and a spoon taking from it
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Layered Panna Cotta

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Resting time8 hrs
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 2/3 cup / 400 ml heavy cream
  • 1 2/3 cup / 400 ml milk
  • 6 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 oz/ 55 g milk chocolate
  • 2 x 0.25 oz env./ 15 g gelatine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • morello cherry jam, (see notes)


  • Soak half of the gelatine in 2-3 tbsp cold water and let stay for 5-10 minutes. The gelatine should absorb the water completely and bloom.
  • In a heatproof bowl combine 7/8 cup milk (200 ml) and 7/8 cup cream + about half of the sugar. Add also the vanilla extract. Place the bowl over a pan with gently shimmering water (double boiler). Whisk the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the chocolate, broken into pieces, and whisk again until dissolved. Finally add the gelatin and whisk until dissolved.
  • Pour the chocolate panna cotta into glasses or ramequins, half-filling them. Cover each cup with plastic wrap. Let cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours until firm.
  • Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the gelatine, cream, milk, sugar and rum extract. When the second batch of panna cotta is ready, pour it in the glasses/ cups of already firm first batch. Cover again with plastic wraps. Let stay in the fridge for 5-6 hours or overnight.
  • Depending on the type of glasses used, the panna cotta can be served in two ways which I have presented both in the pictures. If it is in high glasses, just pour some morello cherry jam on top and serve directly in the glass. If it is in ramekins, invert each panna cotta onto a serving plate and spoon over the jam.


  • Store the leftover panna cota for 4-5 days in the fridge.
  • If you don't have morello cherry jam, try with raspberry, strawberry or any other kind that is slightly sour. Alternatively you can use regular cherry or blueberry jam as well.
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