Panna Cotta with Poached Pears

Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta with Poached Pears & Sesame Brittle

A comforting silken custard that gets is elegance from it’s simplicity, a traditional Panna Cotta is a hard thing to beat. This Panna Cotta is really special though, the kind of dessert you’d want to serve to your favourite person in the entire world.

The addition of crème fraîche adds a delicious smooth mouthfeel with the refreshing clean finish that you get from the tang of crème fraîche. Combined with sweet perfumed pears and almost burnt, nutty brittle, this recipe is an absolute knockout. I’m looking forward to adding this to my Autumn/ Winter menu for private clients. A perfect autumn dessert or an alternative Christmas showstopper.

Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta with Poached Pears & Sesame Brittle

Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta with Poached Pears & Sesame Brittle

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Course: DessertCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



A perfect autumn dessert or an alternative Christmas showstopper.


  • Panna Cotta
  • 300 ml double cream

  • 150 ml milk

  • 150 ml crème fraîche 

  • 50 g golden caster sugar

  • 3 x 2 g leaves of gelatine

  • Poached Pears
  • 250 g soft brown sugar

  • 10 cardamom pods

  • 1/2 vanilla pod

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads

  • pinch sea salt

  • 4 firm pears, peeled, stems intact

  • Sesame & Almond Brittle
  • 100 g caster sugar

  • 30 g almond slices

  • 20 g sesame seeds


  • Panna Cotta
  • Allow the gelatine leaves to soften completely by placing them in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.
  • Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds, add these to the pan along with the double cream, crème fraîche, milk and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir gently until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture almost comes to a boil. 
  • Squeeze the moisture from the now softened gelatine leaves and add them to the pan. Stir till fully dissolved. Pour the mixture between 6 dariole moulds or ramekins. Allow to cool then allow to set overnight in the fridge.
  • Poached Pears
  • Pour 1 litre of water into a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add the brown sugar, cardamom, vanilla pod, cinnamon stick, saffron and sea salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves and reduce to a simmer.  
  • Gently add the peeled pears to the liquid then allow them to simmer for around 30 minutes. They should be soft but  not completely mushy. 
  • hen the pairs are ready, carefully remove them using a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. Increase the heat on the liquid until it reduces to a vicious syrup, this will take around 10-15 minutes. 
  • Sesame & Almond Brittle
  • To make the almond and sesame brittle, place the caster sugar in in a clean, dry non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Don’t stir it, just shake and swirl occasionally until dissolved and a deep golden colour. 
  • Add the almond slices and sesame seeds plus a pinch of sea salt. Coat everything using a rubber spatula and pour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. Allow to cool before smashing into shards. 
  • Assemble
  • To assemble, place each panna cotta in individual bowls

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