Caramel panna cotta with tonka bean

Valentine’s Day’s approaching really fast. Myself, I’m not a great fan of this fest, but I believe that any occasion is a good excuse to make and eat desserts, don’t you think so? đŸ˜‰ Since Valentine’s day is on Monday, I guess some of you are still searching for an easy, fast and yet sophisticated recipe to surprise your beloved ones. I believe I have one that  fulfills all those requirements! This lovely panna cotta is not only extremely easy to make but it also marries luscious caramel and vanilla with exotic tonka beans.

In the past, tonka beans were used to flavour tobacco for smoking pipes and nowadays they are often used in perfumes. They are rather a rarity when it comes to culinary use and are mostly featured in French and Italian dishes, however they slowly enter other cuisines . Unfortunately, they are forbidden in some countries (eg. in USA) as they contain coumarin and are toxic in high dosages. Tonka beans have lovely vanilla-almond flavor with a strong scent of rum (they are processed in it for 24h before drying). I got tonka beans as a generous gift from Bea from Bea w kuchni. Thank you once again Bea, it was such a delightful and tasty surprise!

The recipe comes from Master chef Australia  (by Adriano Zumbo). It makes 2 portions.


60g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split seeds scraped
1/3 tonka bean, grated
250ml cream
1 gelatine  leaf (2g)

1. Dry caramelize the sugar with the tonka bean and vanilla seeds and bean in a saucepan until sugar has melted and mixture is caramel in colour.

2. Meanwhile, heat cream in a small saucepan and add warm cream to caramel to deglaze pan. Soak gelatine leaf in water until soft, squeeze out excess moisture. Stir gelatine into mixture and strain mixture through a sieve placed over a small bowl. Cool in an ice bath.

3. Once cooled to room temperature pour into glasses or moulds. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or until set.


3 thoughts on “Caramel panna cotta with tonka bean

  1. To tell you the truth I don’t know what’s the exact law on Tonka beans in Finland đŸ˜‰ I got them from a friend from Switzerland. But since they are legal in France and Italy, I guess in whole EU there is no problem with getting them đŸ™‚

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