Coffee and rum panna cotta with ladyfingers

The idea was to attempt Tiramisu this weekend. I was totally pumped about it, even bought all the ingredients. And then, I couldn’t find my favourite brand of mascarpone cheese.

Then I thought of panna cotta. Simple vanilla didn’t quite cut it for me. I needed a twist. Since I was in a particularly coffee mood and how much I really love coffee in my desserts, this seemed like a perfect flavour combination.

The Italian lady fingers were feeling left out so I made some milk chocolate ganache and dipped these biscuits into it. Feeling fancy and all that.

So there! You have coffee, cream, alcohol and lady fingers. Isn’t this like a wannabe Tiramisu?! (I can hear the Italians laugh somewhere)

Talking of panna cotta, I always had a huge mental block about it. I assumed making it would involve wearing a heavy armour and slash a few hundred dessert demons. And boy, was I wrong?!

Cream, sugar, boil, gelatin. BOOM. That’s all it takes to put together this fancy looking dessert. The best part is you can try a number of variations. Berry compote, mango, passion fruit, lime, ginger, orange, dark chocolate.. whatever floats your boat.


540ml of cream (I used Amul Cream)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tsp of coffee powder (I used Bru)
1 cup of water
3-4 tbsp of dark rum (wouldn’t hurt to add more)
1 1/2 packets of powdered gelatin
1 vanilla pod (slit and scraped)

For serving (optional)

3 lady fingers
Milk chocolate ganache
Milk chocolate (grated)


In a bowl mix coffee, water, rum and powdered gelatin and set aside. In a large saucepan, add the cream, sugar and vanilla pod and cook until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat, remove the vanilla pod and slowly stir in the coffee mixture into the cream and let the gelatin dissolve completely.

Pour into glasses (shot glasses or jello moulds) and chill for a minimum of 4-6 hours. Serve with grated milk/dark chocolate and lady fingers dipped in chocolate ganache.


  1. You can make these one day ahead and leave them to set before a party or get together
  2. Use freshly brewed espresso for a better coffee flavour
  3. Experiment with the type of liqueur (Frangelico, Kahlua, Baileys, Amaretto or Marsala wine) or leave it out if you prefer making it without the alcohol
  4. It is important that the pudding is completely set so please resist the temptation to poke it in the middle of the night like I did.

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