Root Beer + Vanilla Panna Cotta

When my pie day partner in crime, Trisha from The Lazy Mom’s Cooking Blog, suggested panna cotta as a dessert for Pearls + Girls Fan Favorite Month, I was intrigued.  First of all, I’ve never made panna cotta, and second of all, I have been DYING to make a dessert with a real Madagascar vanilla bean.  I typically use really good vanilla extract, but I’ve never, ever used a vanilla bean.


When I was pregnant I craved two things:  grapefruit and root beer floats.  Strange, I know.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t have bald babies… biggest baby-related fear lol.  Panna cotta is usually served with a fruit gelee or coulis, but I thought it would be interesting to combine one of my favorite prego combinations:  root beer + vanilla.

One day, a man was abducted by pirates.  He was forced to walk the plank, but before he did he yelled, “STOP!”

“I want one thing before I die,” he said.

“Root beer!”

They looked at him funny, but went ahead and gave it to him.

He would have died that day, but luckily, ‘root beer floats.


I know, I know, corny joke, but it got me thinking…..usually the ice cream floats in the root beer, BUT for this dessert, the ‘root beer’ floats on the ‘ice cream.’  In other words, a root beer gelee floats on a creamy vanilla panna cotta pudding, taking a good ole root beer float and transforming it into an elegant dessert!  I know, I thought that was impossible, too!  May I present a fancified version of a childhood classic, Root Beer + Vanilla Panna Cotta.  P.S.  No straw necessary.  Enjoy! 🙂

Root Beer + Vanilla Panna Cotta ~ Pearls + Girls

Root Beer + Vanilla Panna Cotta


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole or 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half and seeded
  • 2 - 1/4 oz. packets gelatin
  • 1 - 12 oz. bottle root beer


    To Make the Panna Cotta:
  1. Pour milk into a medium sized bowl and sprinkle with one packet of gelatin. Allow to bloom for 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium pot, add the cream, scraped vanilla bean seeds and the vanilla bean pod.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, whisking to distribute the seeds throughout the cream mixture.
  4. Remove from heat and add the sugar, whisking until it is dissolved.
  5. Remove the vanilla bean pod, and strain the mixture through a sieve into the bowl with the milk and gelatin. Whisk to combine.
  6. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then whisk again and pour into 4 ramekins or dessert bowls. (I used stemless martini glasses, but a wine glass would give the same effect because you can see the layers).
  7. Chill until set, about an hour.
  8. To Make the Root Beer Gelee:
  9. Pour half the root beer into a small bowl and sprinkle with one packet of gelatin. Allow to bloom for 5 minutes.
  10. Warm the remaining root beer in a pan over medium heat or in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl until hot.
  11. Add the hot root beer to the small bowl of root beer and gelatin. Whisk to combine.
  12. Pour root beer gelee over the chilled panna cotta, and chill for an additional hour. Serve chilled.

Adapted from: Food Network