Panna cotta with mini doughnuts and fresh raspberries

This dessert is wonderful for dinner parties because it can all be prepared in advance and assembled just before serving.

Equipment and preparation: For this recipe you will need four dariole moulds or ramekins.


For the panna cotta
  • 300ml/10fl oz double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
  • 100ml/3½fl oz condensed milk
  • 2 gelatine leaves, soaked in water for at least five minutes
  • 350ml/12fl oz buttermilk
  • 25ml/1fl oz vodka
For the mini doughnuts
  • 250g/9oz strong white flour
  • pinch salt
  • 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
  • 30g/1oz butter, softened
  • 1 tsp fast-action yeast
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
To serve
  • 250g/9oz raspberries
  • 25g/1oz caster sugar

Preparation method

  1. For the panna cotta, chill a jug in the freezer.

  2. Heat the double cream, vanilla pod and seeds and the condensed milk in a saucepan until just boiling. Remove the pan from heat, add the soaked gelatine and buttermilk. Whisk until well combined.

  3. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into the chilled jug, stir in the vodka.

  4. Place the jug in the fridge to chill, whisking every five minutes until the mixture begins to set. Pour the mixture into dariole moulds or ramekins and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.

  5. For the mini doughnuts, combine the flour, salt, and caster sugar in a large bowl.

  6. Mix in the butter, 150ml/5fl oz water and yeast until the mixture comes together to form a smooth dough. Cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each into a ball.

  8. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and place the dough balls onto it, leaving plenty of room between each ball. Cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place to prove for a further 20 minutes.

  9. When the dough has proved, heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 150C/320F. Alternatively, heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)

  10. Carefully lower the doughnuts into the hot oil in batches and deep-fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.

  11. When the excess oil has drained off the doughnuts, place them onto a plate and dust with the remaining caster sugar until completely coated.

  12. To serve, place the raspberries, sugar and 50ml/2fl oz water in a pan and cook for 3-4 minutes. Blend until smooth and pass through a fine sieve.

  13. Remove the panna cotta from the moulds and turn out into the centre of serving plates (briefly dip the base of each mould into a bowl of hot water and gently slide a knife around the edge of each panna cotta to loosen them). Serve with the doughnuts and raspberry sauce.

Required techniques

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen

Over 2 hours preparation time

10 to 30 mins cooking time

Serves 4

scroll to top