Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberry and Elderflower Sauce

One of the most romantic desserts comes together with the classic combination of strawberries, elderflower and vanilla (or Chantilly) cream.

Serves 8

Vanilla Panna Cotta

  • 300ml cream
  • 600ml milk
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 6 Gelatine leaves*
  • 250g punnet Victorian Strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
  • Baby basil leaves and edible flowers to serve

Strawberry Sauce

  • 250g punnet Victorian Strawberries, washed, hulled and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 bunches of elderflower** or 1 tablespoon of elderflower cordial or liqueur (optional) 


  1. To make the panna cotta: Heat cream, milk, caster sugar and vanilla extract over low heat until hot, but do not bring to the boil. Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water, soak for 5 minutes until soft, then remove from water. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and add to the hot milk mixture and stir until dissolved.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.  Pour through a sieve into a jug.
  1. Have 8 glasses ready and pour 100ml into the centre of each glass and leave to set for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
  1. To make the strawberry sauce: combine the chopped strawberries, caster sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the strawberries go pale and the syrup is bright red. Add in the fresh elderflowers (or elderflower cordial/liqueur).  Allow syrup to cool and place into refrigerator overnight. 
  1. When ready to serve:  strain the sauce mixture through a sieve without pressing down on the strawberries. Discard the cooked strawberries (or save for later for a strawberry cocktail). Toss with the freshly sliced strawberries.
  1. To serve: remove the panna cotta from the fridge and arrange strawberry sauce on the top.  Garnish with baby basil leaves and edible flowers.

NB: Borage flowers or violets are a gorgeous edible flower, or else the baby basil leaves alone are just perfect for the dish. 

*Gelatine leaves are found in the baking section of the supermarket

** Elderflower or elderflower cordial is available at you supermarket or specialty food shop