Panna Cotta with Poached Pears and Almond Toffee Crunch
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This dessert, while it has quite a few steps, is not difficult to make and can be done in stages.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
Poached Pears
  • 4 pears
  • 1 bottle Moscato wine
  • 1 cinnamon quill
Almond Toffee
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
Panna Cotta
  • 330 ml Full cream milk
  • 470 ml Cream
  • 120 grams icing sugar
  • 3 sheets titanium gelatine
  • 2 vanilla beans
Poached Pears
  1. Peel the pears, slice in half and scoop out the seed bits and bottom end with a melon baller or spoon. Keep the stems, they're pretty.
  2. Place them in a saucepan and pour over the wine and toss in the cinnamon quill. Cover with a piece of baking paper to keep the pears wet and cover.
  3. Simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until you can pierce the pear with a knife and it feels soft.
  4. Remove pears to a plate and increase the heat and reduce the wine until it's syrupy. However thick you like.
  5. Pour syrup over the pears.
Almond Toffee Topping
  1. Place almonds on a baking tray and place in the oven at 180C for about 8 minutes or until the almonds take on just a little bit of color. Set aside.
  2. To a saucepan on medium heat, add the sugar and the water. Cook until the mixture reaches the hard crack stage 150C. Remove from heat and put the bottom of the pan in water to stop the cooking - you don't want burnt toffee.
  3. Toss in the almonds and pour out on a Silpat or baking paper and smooth out.
  4. Once cool, place in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin. Place in an air tight container and set aside. (This will keep for weeks, well covered)
Panna Cotta
  1. Brush a non-flavoured oil on 8 dariole moulds - it will help to remove the panna cotta.
  2. Put the 3 sheets of gelatine in a bowl of ice water to soften.
  3. Place milk in a saucepan and slice the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with your knife and add to the milk. Toss the beans in as well. Bring the milk to nearly boiling but do not boil. You'll see little bubbles on the side of the pan, that's hot enough.
  4. Remove from the heat and let the beans steep for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the beans and add the gelatine and mix well. Add the sugar and mix well.
  6. Add the cream and place the bowl over a bowl of ice water and stir until the mixture just begins to thicken. This will hold the vanilla seeds in suspension. If you don't mind the seeds falling to the bottom, this step is not necessary.
  7. Pour into dariole moulds and refrigerate until set. Mixture will still be wobbly.
  8. Dip moulds into hot water for a few seconds and invert on a plate.
  9. Assembly
  10. Plate the panna cotta and sprinkle the crushed toffee on the top.
  11. Slice the pear into strips and place alongside the panna cotta.
  12. Drizzle some syrup over the pear and around the panna cotta.
Recipe by Orgasmic Chef at