just a smidgen

Espresso Panna Cotta with Italian Meringue Brulé Clouds

Espresso Panna Cotta, Italian Meringue Brulé

We were totally

from my daughter’s birthday
and the
Cinnamon Streusel Pumpkin Coffee Cake

I racked my brains
for something “else” that would be
suitable but unique

for a special birthday…

my son, Phil’s, 19th to be exact!

When he worked at Mercato West, our favorite restaurant,
he worked hard to perfect the perfect cappuccino and espresso.

Since we were both too sick to go out for a special family dinner..

I challenged myself to recreate a
dessert from their menu to enjoy in the comfort of

our home



Espresso Panna Cotta

topped with

Clouds of Toasted Meringue Brulé

For such a simple, make head recipe,
they turned out so pretty and, I thought, a close match in taste.

I’d recommend sharing a cup between two..
{ we found it quite rich }

Better still… head to Mercato West for superb food,
attentive and friendly staff, and have a grappa to finish!
Tell them I sent ya’, it may not get you anything, but tell them anyway;)

I adapted Giada de Laurentiis’ recipe because
I thought real espresso would have a more vibrant flavor,

{ Giada’s would be easier because it just uses espresso powder }

I also wanted little bits of espresso suspended like vanilla beans for effect..
so I popped in an espresso sachet as well.

Note: **I’d make these at least one to two days ahead so they can fully set,
perhaps even add 1/2 tsp more gelatin powder.

Espresso Panna Cotta with Italian Meringue Brulé Clouds
  • Panna Cotta
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 ounce shots of espresso
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp freshly ground espresso
  • small square cheesecloth
  • string
  • 4 small coffee cups, mugs or ramekins
  • meringue powder
  • or
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • kitchen cooking torch
  1. Spoon 3 tbsp freshly ground espresso onto the square piece of cheesecloth. Tie securely with string to make a sachet.
  2. Pour the milk into a medium sized saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over top and allow it to sit for 5 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften. Turn to medium heat and cook, stirring for 2 minutes until the gelatin dissolves. Do not allow the milk to boil.
  3. Add the cream, espresso shots, sugar and pinch of salt. Pop in the sachet. Stir over low heat for 3 more minutes until all of the sugar is dissolved. Gently press the espresso sachet to allow some fine grounds to filter through. As the milk mixture heats, the sachet can continue to be pressed to allow more color and espresso flavor to be released.
  4. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Place four coffee cups, mugs or individual bowls on a silpat lined cookie sheet so they don’t move. Ladle the creamy mixture into each cup, dividing equally.
  5. Move the tray to the fridge and allow to cool, stirring every 20 minutes for the first hour only. After that, cover (I didn’t even cover mine) and let set for a minimum of six hours (I prefered the texture after a day). It can be kept up to two days in the fridge.
  6. A while before serving, mix up the meringue according to the directions on your powdered meringue container. If making meringue from scratch, put egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar into a very clean mixing bowl over a simmering pot of water. Using a hand held mixer, beat on low at first, then slowly bring to high speed. Beat until the meringue reaches 140°F, remove from heat and continue to beat until the meringue has stiff peaks.
  7. Heap the meringue on top of the Espresso Panna Cotta cups, swirling for effect. Refrigerate and just before serving, lightly brown the meringue using a hand-held kitchen cooking torch.



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