Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Dessert, Fruit Desserts, Puddings and Custards | 16 comments

There are a few ways that I know Spring is truly here when it comes to living in New Mexico. The first: the wind has started.

I’m not talking about a few breezy days here and there, but rather months on end of days where we regularly see winds raging from 20 miles per hour. The Sandia Mountain vanishes from view because the winds have kicked up so much dust.

vanilla panna cotta with strawberries

There are other more subtle signs too. The hibernating trees in our yard slowly start coming back to life and are eventually covered in beautiful pink and white blossoms. Green is a color that creeps its way back into the landscape.

The birds chip happily. Once or twice a week there is no wind and the days is so absolutely beautiful that you can’t help but want to spend it outside. And our rhubarb plants begin coming back to life.

Spring is the perfect time for strawberry and rhubarb, one of Eric’s all time favorite dessert pairings. Over the years we’ve made Lemon Cloud Tart with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote, Rhubarb Crumb Coffee Cake, pies and crisps featuring that iconic spring pairing.

So when I knew that for sure, spring had arrived here in New Mexico I decided that it was indeed time for a new Strawberry Rhubarb recipe to make a debut on our family’s dessert table.

strawberries with panna cotta

Panna Cotta is a fabulously simple, yet seemingly fancy, dessert recipe. Essentially, it is just gelled sweetened cream, but it tastes so much more than that.

In this recipe, the Panna Cotta is flavored with vanilla bean and a hint of lemon essential oil. Then, after chilling the Panna Cotta is served with spoonfuls of fresh Strawberry Rhubarb Compote, which incidentally tastes also delicious spooned onto ice cream, yogurt, or oatmeal.

More Strawberry Rhubarb Recipes to Try:

What is your favorite Strawberry Rhubarb recipe?

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Yield: 4 servings

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 4 - 6 hours, including chill time

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Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

2 tablespoons water
1 1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 3/4 cups cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup half and half or whole milk
Pinch salt
1 - 2 drops 100% Pure Lemon Essential Oil
1/2 of a vanilla bean, seeds only

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

2 cups 1/2-inch pieces fresh rhubarb
2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch, if desired (to thicken)


For the Panna Cotta

Sprinkle the gelatin over the of water in a small bowl. Let sit to soften.

Put the half and half or milk in a small saucepan with the sugar over medium heat and heat until bubbles form around the edges. Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture until completely dissolved. Whisk in the cream, salt, lemon essential oil, and vanilla bean seeds.

Divide the panna cotta mixture between four 6 - 8 ounce individual serving containers and chill until set. Before serving, top with spoonfuls of strawberry rhubarb compote.

For the Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Combine rhubarb, sugar, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add the cornstarch to the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and add to the rhubarb mixture. Add strawberries, and simmer for 2-3 minutes, uncovered.Transfer rhubarb mixture to bowl. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Panna Cotta adapted from Lemon Blueberry Panna Cotta

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote from Lemon Cloud Tart with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Aimee @ Simple Bites - March 27, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    Stunning, Katie! This is one of my favorite flavor combos. Bring on the spring!


  • 2
    Cassie - March 27, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    These are absolutely gorgeous Katie! I love the color contrast. Hello, strawberry-rhubarb season!


  • 3
    Tania @momandbabybeautiful - March 27, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

    Wow, I love this! So beautiful:)


  • 4
    Ashley - March 27, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

    I love your blog! I’ve always wanted to try the combination of rhubarb and strawberries, and panna cotta seems like the perfect way to do so. :) Yum!


  • 5
    Ben - March 27, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

    Yes, spring is in the air! Beautiful dessert. I need to find some rhubarb down here to make it.


  • 6
    Meal Makeover Mom Janice - March 28, 2012 @ 5:42 am

    Yum, this looks so good. Have you ever tried leaving out the cream and making it with all half and half or whole milk only? Love the photos!


  • 7
    Megan {Country Cleaver} - March 28, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    Strawberry Rhubarb is making it’s rounds! I just made a meringue with the suace and I can attest to it’s power and awesomeness! It just whooshes in spring-time. These are beautiful.


  • 8
    Stephanie - March 28, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    The panna cotta looks absolutely amazing!I was wondering about the cute glass jars you’re using. I live in Sweden and can’t find jars like that here. Do you know if I can buy anything like that on the Internet?
    Thanks for a great food blog! /Stephanie


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 28th, 2012 @ 12:21 PM

      Thanks! The jars are Weck and you can buy them online at

  • 9
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - March 29, 2012 @ 3:43 am

    Rhubarb says spring is here! These are just beautiful Katie.


  • 10
    marla - March 30, 2012 @ 9:44 am

    Lovely Katie!!!


  • 11
    Shaina - March 30, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    Adore these, and not just because they’re in my favorite jars. Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts. Subtly sweet, and with the strawberry rhubarb compote? Glorious.


  • 12
    Erica - April 01, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

    I stumbled across your blog when looking for a slow cooker shredded chicken with Mexican flare! I live in Farmington & had to laugh about the winds – they are howling out my window right now. Anyhow – neat to “run into” a fellow NM resident! I am getting ready to cook your chicken now!


  • 13
    cooking rookie - April 12, 2012 @ 3:45 am

    This is a perfect spring dessert! Just in time for the strawberry season :-)


  • 14
    Katie - April 27, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

    Wow, these look gorgeous. Your lines on the panna cotta are so crisp and neat! I’m loving rhubarb season as well.


  • 15
    Tara Guillen - November 25, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

    This was a perfect dessert and my family enjoyed it! Great recipes, thank you Katie! :)


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