Chocolate Panna Cotta with a Port Wine Pomegranate Sauce

Oh, you are going to love this rich and creamy chocolate panna cotta. This is a classic Italian dessert that’s nothing more than simmered cream and sugar with a little gelatin to bind it. From there you can easily scale it up with add-ins for different flavors and variations. For the version here I used a port wine pomegranate sauce to cut through the cream and to give the ensemble a fruity and slightly tart profile.

Chocolate Panna Cotta w Port Wine Pomegranate

And since most of us are in the throes of holiday madness, I’m continuing with the theme “easy elegance” with this one.

The easy portion of this comes into play with technique and the recipe being nearly a one pot dessert. I say nearly because other than the pot, you’ll just need a bowl filled with water for the gelatin to soften. The elegance can easily be fitted by serving the chocolate panna cotta in stemmed glasses rather than using ramekins and un-molding it.


If you haven’t worked with gelatin before, there’s really nothing to it, especially if you are working with the granules rather than gelatin leaves. If you’ve ever made Jell-o, than you you’ve already worked with gelatin. It’s all about letting it soften (often times referred to as “bloom”) and temperature—too hot and you will break the gelatin, not hot enough and the gelatin won’t set. And very important—too much gelatin and you will end up with a rubbery texture.

See? Easy. So get busy!


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Chocolate Panna Cotta with a Port Wine Pomegranate Sauce

Yield: Makes a total of 20 oz. about 5 servings


Chocolate Panna Cotta

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 envelope plain gelatin (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup  sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Hershey Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 3 oz. dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Port Wine Pomegranate Sauce

  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1/2 cup Pom pomegranate juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • optional: 1/4 - 1 teaspoon sugar as needed to adjust flavor to personal preference


To make chocolate panna cotta

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of milk into a bowl. Evenly sprinkle gelatin on top; set aside for two minutes.
  2. Place the cream, sugar and cocoa powder into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer ( look for small bubbles along the edge of the pan). Add in chocolate, vanilla and salt; stir to combine.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Pour the gelatin mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved (mixture should be free of grit when rubbed between two fingers).
  3. Pour into stemmed glasses or ramekins. Chill for at least 2 hours or loosely cover and chill overnight.

To make port wine pomegranate sauce

  1. Add port wine, pomegranate juice and honey into a pan and cook, stirring until the liquid is reduced by half about 3 to 5 minutes.  (*Taste and adjust the flavor with a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar until satisfied.)
  2. Drizzle on top of set chocolate panna cotta at time of serving.

A few notes:

  1. To evenly soften the gelatin use a bowl that will allow for as much water surface as possible, so that the gelatin can be sprinkled on top of it in an even thin layer.
  2. To quicken the set time, chill serving vessel before pouring the chocolate panna cotta into it.
  3. The chocolate panna cotta can be made two days in advance and kept covered and refrigerated.
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19 Responses to “Chocolate Panna Cotta with a Port Wine Pomegranate Sauce”

  1. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — December 13, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

    These pictures are ridiculously beautiful!


    • Naomi replied: — December 13th, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

      Liz-Thank you so much! :)


  2. #
    DessertForTwo — December 13, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

    Easy elegance is the name of the game around the holidays! I did 5-ingredient cran-orange pavlova the other day and I still feel like a rockstar, hah! Love this panna cotta :)


  3. #
    Sarah Maison Cupcake — December 13, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

    So dramatic! And a welcome change from all the Christmas madness… I’m all OD’ed on smashed up candy canes after going through my reader yesterday!!


  4. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — December 13, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

    Port wine + pomegranate sauce…I want that on everything! Just that alone sounds heavenly!


  5. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — December 13, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

    Gorgeous, I love the elegant simplicity!


  6. #
    Katie | The Hill Country Cook — December 13, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

    Oh my, oh my my. This could be a good thing, a VERY good thing. Or a very bad thing, looks dangerous! But it’s so simple! I’m liking the port addition, my mom would love this, we’re Portuguese :)


  7. #
    Sarah — December 13, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

    Mmmm pannacotta is the best! Cooked cream, how bad could it be?


  8. #
    Briella — December 13, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

    Ohhh my goodness. That looks amazing! Yes please. :)

    Briella, Denver IT Consulting


  9. #
    Vespa Woolf — December 14, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    This sounds delicious and not too difficult, especially with your tips on water temperature. I look forward to making it for our guests. Thanks!


  10. #
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — December 14, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

    Dear lord… I feel sinful just looking at this. Is it odd that I’m slightly turned on?


  11. #
    Tiffany — December 14, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    Okay, seriously?! This looks amazing. I just almost stopped drooling over your Eggnog cupcakes and now this!


  12. #
    Sandra's Easy Cooking — December 14, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

    So Beautiful! Great recipe, and clicks are gorgeous!


  13. #
    Chele — December 15, 2012 @ 6:53 am

    Oh my word. What an ending to the Christmas meal this owuld make!


  14. #
    Laura — December 15, 2012 @ 7:03 am

    That looks absolutely divine (and decadent!). Gorgeous photos too. ~L


  15. #
    Lola — December 15, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

    panna cotta always takes me by surprise, it’s something that i always think i wont enjoy but end up loving and i think chocolate panna cotta can only get better! X


  16. #
    Sasha — December 16, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

    These photos are incredible. Wow.


  17. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — December 21, 2012 @ 4:59 am

    I love the wonderful textures of the background and gold platter.


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