There’s no question Italians know their way around a kitchen. If it’s not pasta, incredible cured meats and cheeses or pizza, they’re serving up drool-worthy desserts.

These two mouth-watering and authentic dishes by Vincenzo Velletri are simple to prepare yet they are unforgettable.

Go for the panna cotta if you’re after something light and reasonably quick or creamy Italian profiteroles if you’re craving something sweet.

Vanilla Pannacotta with Wild Berry Sauce

Vanilla Pannacotta with Wild Berry Sauce

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 250ml milk
  • 750ml cream
  • 250g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 gelatine leaves
  • 500g mixed wild berries
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 10 dairy moulds
  • Fresh mint leaves to decorate

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, mix milk, cream, 150g sugar and the vanilla bean split in half lengthways, or the extract, and bring it to just below the boiling point.
  2. In the meantime soak the gelatine leaves in cold water, when soft squeeze them out and put them in the prepared mixture stirring well.
  3. If you have used the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds out and discharge the bean, cool down the mixture and pour it in the dairy moulds. Refrigerate until set.
To make the sauce
  1. Place the berries in a saucepan with the remaining sugar and the lemon juice and cook until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture starts to reduce approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the mixture in a food processor and process until smooth. Pass the sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds and refrigerate.
To serve
  1. Take the panna cotta out of the fridge and immerse the mould halfway in warm water for 30 seconds. This process will make it easier for the panna cotta to come out of the moulds.
  2. Turn them upside down in the centre of the serving plate and tap the top until the panna cotta comes out, pour 2 tablespoons of sauce on each panna cotta, decorate with fresh mint leaves and serve.

Bigne’ (Profiteroles)

Italian Profiteroles

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 250ml water
  • 125g butter
  • 200g plain flour
  • 6 eggs

Instructions

  1. Place the water and butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil, when the butter has completely melted add the flour all at once and stir it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes off from the sides of the saucepan.
  2. Remove from the heat, place the mixture in an electric mixer and mix until it cools down. Add the eggs, one at the time and keep mixing until a smooth soft dough is formed.
  3. Heat the oven to 220C.  Line the baking tray with baking paper.
  4. Place the dough in a piping bag and pipe walnut-size mixture on the lined tray. Make sure that you distance the dough to allow them to grow at least double in size.
  5. Bake at 220C for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 180C and bake for further 10 to 15 minutes until they are fully cooked and very light.
  6. Take them out from the oven and with a small knife make a hole at the bottom of each bigne’, place them on a cooling rack making sure that the hole is facing upwards to allow the steam to escape.
  7. When they have completely cooled down they can be filled with your favourite cream (chantilly, patisserie, chocolate, hazelnut etc.) Place them on a serving tray and dust with icing sugar or they can be dipped in chocolate sauce.
Summary
recipe image
Recipe Name
La Dolce Vita—Italian Desserts
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Kristen Watts

Kristen is a newspaper journalist and magazine editor with more than two decades experience writing about food and cooking. She's also an amateur artist and loves making things look pretty.

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