Jam Jar Panna Cotta

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Summer is hitting a high note and temperatures are brutal.  I just can’t bring myself to turn on the oven and heat up my whole apartment.  So for this 4th of July, instead of bringing my usual assortment of pies and cakes I decided to go for something that does not require cooking…a beautiful silky, creamy panna cotta.

Panna cotta is a cream based dessert that is similar to a custard or a pudding but it uses gelatin instead of eggs or starch to thicken it.  I use buttermilk in mine to both lighten it and because I love the tanginess it lends to the dish.  Using the 4th of July as my inspiration, I have paired this creamy white dessert with Potlicker’s Blueberry Sage jam and fresh dark red cherries.  Red, white, and blue!  You could also keep the Red, White, & Blue going with some Strawberry Chipotle Jam and fresh blueberries.

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Panna cotta is quick to make and easy to tweak.  Often panna cotta is unmolded for serving but I love the idea (& convenience) of serving them in the containers I made them in.  Make them in empty jelly jars and just screw a lid on them to take them to a picnic.

If you want to get fancy with a layer of jam in the center of the dessert, simply fill the jar 1/3 of the way with the cream mixture.  Chill about 1 hour, until mostly set.  Gently spread the jam on top of the chilled panna cotta and then pour another layer of cream mixture on top of the jam.

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Buttermilk Panna Cotta 

  • 1 cup heavy creamspring 2014 Blueberry Sage (1)
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 cup buttermilk
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • Potlicker Jam
  • Fresh cherries or blueberries

Mix gelatin and cold water together and set aside.

Heat cream, sugar, and zest, on the stove or in the microwave, until the mix is simmering and sugar is dissolved.

Stir in the gelatin. Stir in buttermilk.

Divide mixture between 6-8 jars, juice glasses, ramekins, small bowls, etc. and chill at least 5 hours.  Once firmly set top with fruit & jam. Serve chilled.

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Think this sounds great? Try these other great recipes by Susan:


Susan has a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts from the Culinary Institute of America and her peers bestowed an honorary award for merit in wine and beer. She is an accomplished pastry chef in DC and someone I go to for baking advice. Susan is my twin and I am constantly telling her that she should move to Vermont.