031 thumb Sweet Basil Panna Cotta

I have another guest post for you today! Wait till you see who it is! She is one of the bestest. Truly, she is. You will see.

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers, Carolyn, author of All Day I Dream About Food. Carolyn is someone that I connected with right away when I started this journey; Carolyn is encouraging, supportive, absolutely talented, and most of all, a great friend.

And, if you are on a diet looking for something that will blow your mind, look no further, just hit PRINT.

048 thumb Sweet Basil Panna Cotta

I have always found the name of Kate’s blog intriguing. Diethood – it rather suggests that you are going to find a number of recipes suitable to promoting weight loss. But when you check it out, you find a vast array of mouthwatering, decidedly non-diet recipes. Recipes designed to blow your diet, in fact, should you be on one. And from the few pictures of Kate herself, I would say that this woman has absolutely no business being on a diet anyway!

(This is your pilot, Kate, speaking….I have a secret – I eat only one serving of whatever it is that I have made. wlEmoticon smile1 Sweet Basil Panna Cotta…continue, Carolyn)

I, however, am on a diet…of sorts. I am not in it for weight loss, but for my health. See, I am a recently-diagnosed diabetic and I have found that keeping a check on my carbs is the best way to also keep a check on my blood sugars. Much like Kate, though, I adore cooking and baking – particularly baking, and the more mouthwatering the dessert, the better. Lucky for me, low carb does not mean low fat or low flavor.

From the moment I discovered Kate’s blog, it was a source of infinite inspiration to me. So many of her delectable treats can be modified to a lower carb version. I’ve had my eye on that Frozen Mojito Pie since the moment I saw it. I haven’t quite gotten to it yet, but I will. Oh yes, I will!

019 thumb Sweet Basil Panna Cotta

So, in keeping with the delectability of the recipes on Diethood, I thought I ought to come up with something that was rich and delicious, but that could be made both low or high-carb. I haven’t made panna cotta before, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about tackling for a while. My first inclination was to go with chocolate, but then my eye spied the incredible abundance of basil growing in my yard. I was reminded of the basil ice cream I made last summer, and it struck me how lovely that sweet basil flavor would be in another sort of creamy, rich dessert.

Turns out, I was right. I will be honest, I wasn’t sure my panna cotta was going to set properly at first. I haven’t worked with gelatin much and I just didn’t trust that the liquidy substance I poured into my ramekins would firm up. I was also worried that I hadn’t put in enough basil for the flavor to come through. I needn’t have worried on either count because they set perfectly and the basil was just right. That distinctive herb-y, licorice-y flavor was present without being overpowering, and made for a refreshing creamy treat.

I made my version with almond milk, cream and some of my alternative sweeteners. You can make yours with whole milk and sugar. I served mine with blueberries because it’s what I had on hand, but you can serve it with whatever floats your boat. It’s all good, here on the Diethood!

001 thumb Sweet Basil Panna Cotta

Sweet Basil Panna Cotta

(serves 6)

You will need:

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup granulated erythritol* (or ½ cup sugar)
  • 1 ½ cups almond milk (or whole milk)
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (4 ½ teaspoons)
  • 16 drops stevia extract (omit if using sugar)


  • Combine cream, basil and erythritol, or sugar, in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
  • Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl to remove solids.
  • Press on solids to release as much flavor and liquid as possible.
  • Lightly grease six ¾ cup ramekins or custard cups.
  • Pour ½ cup of the almond milk or whole milk into another medium saucepan.
  • Sprinkle gelatin over and let sit 3 minutes.
  • Add the remaining almond or whole milk and set over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Cook until the gelatin dissolves and steam begins to rise from the milk, but do not boil.
  • Remove from heat and gently stir in the cream and stevia, if using.
  • Divide the mixture between prepared ramekins and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate until chilled and set, about 4 hours.
  • Serve in the cups or unmold onto plates.
  • To unmold, sit the bottom of each ramekin in hot water for 30 seconds. Run a sharp knife around the inside of each ramekin to loosen and flip out onto the plate. I found it took a little jiggling to get the panna cotta to come free.
  • Top with your favorite berries and serve.

*Erythritol is a naturally-occurring sugar alcohol found in fruits and fermented foods. It is a popular sweetener for diabetics as it has little effect on blood sugar.


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53 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. cristinahaines January 24, 2013 at 5:01 PM - Reply

    Hi! First of all, this looks amazing, and I would love to make some panna cotta. Secondly, I’m curious as to what kind of basil this is as I’m trying my best to learn the (rather confusing, but important) distinction between them. These leaves don’t look like the leaves from my sweet basil plant, which are a little rounder. Do you know exactly what kind of basil this is? There are likely better choices for a dessert basil than the common Italian varieties, and I would love to experiment with them.

  2. Eliot September 13, 2011 at 10:39 AM - Reply

    Never cooked with almond milk. I am intrigued by these beautiful pics.

  3. marla September 12, 2011 at 11:43 PM - Reply

    So fun to see the two of you gals together here, Basil is such a fun ingredient in desserts.

  4. Magic of Spice September 11, 2011 at 7:47 PM - Reply

    This is just gorgeous Carolyn and I think the almond milk would be a great addition…looks amazingly delicious!

  5. Priscilla - She's Cookin' September 11, 2011 at 5:18 PM - Reply

    Beautiful dessert – basil and blueberries sounds amazing! Carolyn, your panna cotta fits right in with all the deliciousness here at Diethood :) I would definitely try it with the almond milk, too.

  6. Susan @ Seafield Farm September 11, 2011 at 5:08 PM - Reply

    Those are gorgeous! I love the basil idea! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kristen September 10, 2011 at 8:30 PM - Reply

    That panna cotta is beautiful. It’s nice to see that the dish is adaptable to low carb as well as the rich classic style. I love the addition of the basil. It sounds delicious.

  8. kita September 10, 2011 at 7:51 PM - Reply

    Your panna cotta looks perfect Carolyn and the flavors sound amazing. This recipe fits in wonderfully here at Diethood!

  9. Kristi Rimkus September 10, 2011 at 9:32 AM - Reply

    I’ve yet to try making a panna cotta, but yours looks amazing, so I’m inspired to give it a try. Lovely post!

  10. Sandra September 9, 2011 at 8:09 PM - Reply

    Very pretty Congratulations on Top 9!

  11. Darcy Jones September 9, 2011 at 7:43 PM - Reply

    love the use of almond milk! Makes it easy and delightful to be on a diet

  12. kankana September 9, 2011 at 7:37 PM - Reply

    wow Basil in dessert! That looks really fancy and so bright. This is a great great guest post.

  13. Kimberly (unrivaledkitch) September 9, 2011 at 5:19 PM - Reply

    Lovely. I adore panna cotta!

  14. Lori Lynn September 9, 2011 at 11:57 AM - Reply

    So pretty! Congrats on T-9!

  15. RavieNomNoms September 9, 2011 at 10:35 AM - Reply

    Oh wow this is gorgeous!!! I am so impressed

  16. Ridwan September 9, 2011 at 10:09 AM - Reply

    Wow,,,,is great recipe,i’m sure taste great as it looks YuM,,,i will save this recipe thanks for sharing,congrats on top 9,you deserve it :)

  17. Joy September 9, 2011 at 8:49 AM - Reply

    The panna cotta looks lovely.

  18. Kim Bee September 8, 2011 at 11:46 PM - Reply

    Congrats on top 9!

  19. kitchenarian September 8, 2011 at 8:06 PM - Reply

    I’ve always wanted to make panna cotta, but have not done so yet. This is beautiful Carolyn. The basil in it sounds divine. What a wonderful guest post! Kate – I hope you are having a wonderful time!

  20. Roxana GreenGirl September 8, 2011 at 6:02 PM - Reply

    In Tiffany’s words, this panna cotta is num num!!!

  21. Feast on the Cheap September 8, 2011 at 3:50 PM - Reply

    This looks wonderful and so refreshing!

  22. Denise @ Creative Kitchen September 8, 2011 at 2:55 PM - Reply

    Hi Carolyn!!

    Great to see you “here!” Your panna cotta looks amazing! I also haven’t made on yet and was wondering how I’d do. You did a great job! :)

  23. Cookin' Canuck September 8, 2011 at 2:32 PM - Reply

    Infusing the panna cotta with basil is a brilliant idea. Lovely dessert, Carolyn!

  24. Megan @ Pip and Ebby September 8, 2011 at 12:48 PM - Reply

    This is light, beautiful and looks delicious!

  25. Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet September 8, 2011 at 10:41 AM - Reply

    Just gorgeous and sounds fantastic. A must make.

  26. Meghan September 8, 2011 at 9:35 AM - Reply

    I love both your blogs!! This panna cotta is gorgeous Carolyn! I love the idea of using basil & the pics are great!

  27. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective September 8, 2011 at 8:13 AM - Reply

    We put basil in EVERYTHING so I just know this would be a big hit in my house!

  28. thelittleloaf September 8, 2011 at 7:17 AM - Reply

    What a beautiful post! I love the idea of using basil in a dessert recipe – it’s such a fabulous flavour with a natural sweetness anyway. Your pics look perfect for a first time panacotta – creamy with just a touch of wobble. Yum!

  29. Giulietta | Alterkitchen September 8, 2011 at 1:41 AM - Reply

    I never thought about a basil pannacotta, but it seems genious! Awesome!

  30. Sandra's Easy Cooking September 7, 2011 at 11:30 PM - Reply

    Just hopped from Carolyn’s site to check this post, and I am so blown away. I love panna cotta. Carolyn you did such incredible job..I am totally loving this.
    Kate I couldn’t agree more about her..she is the sweetest!
    Great job ladies on this guest post!!!

  31. Ann September 7, 2011 at 11:07 PM - Reply

    Seriously, absolutely stunning! I haven’t made panna cotta yet, but it’s on my life-time list of things to make!

  32. Liz September 7, 2011 at 9:08 PM - Reply

    Fabulous guest poster, Kate…I’m such a fan of both you and Carolyn! And such a beautiful dessert! Love the the idea of a basil flavored dessert with that blueberry garnish…mmmmmm. You’ve done it again, you low carb wizard!!!

  33. Terra September 7, 2011 at 6:06 PM - Reply

    The two bloggers I adore together, oh this makes me so happy!!! Sweet basil panna cotta sounds amazing! Hugs, Terra

  34. Charlie September 7, 2011 at 5:52 PM - Reply

    I love the idea of using basil! Must be delicious :).

  35. I love basil, panna cotta and blueberries. I’m guessing this would be a huge winner of a dessert. I’m so glad that Kate had you on here! Hi Kate! Hope you’re enjoying your vacation!!

  36. Karen September 7, 2011 at 5:07 PM - Reply

    This sounds just amazing…I can imagine how good the basil and cream flavors pair with the blueberries. Gorgeous!

  37. Happy When Not Hungry September 7, 2011 at 5:03 PM - Reply

    How beautiful!!! This looks delicious Kate!

  38. Tres Delicious September 7, 2011 at 4:40 PM - Reply

    I’ve always been fascinated by Pannacottas. This is another sweet delights that I will surely prepare.

  39. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts September 7, 2011 at 4:12 PM - Reply

    Amazing recipe! Wonderful job on the guest post Carolyn! Good to know your secret Kate – wish I could stick to the 1 serving rule!

  40. Juliana September 7, 2011 at 3:15 PM - Reply

    Kate, I love pannacotta…but never had sweet basil in it…since I have a nice sweet basil by my kitchen window, I think it is time for me to give this recipe a try. Looks beautiful and so delicate.
    Thanks for the recipe and hope you are having a great week :-)

  41. myFudo September 7, 2011 at 2:41 PM - Reply

    Great post. The basil looks great, love the blueberry toppings. Nice dessert.
    Feel free to check out my site am giving away a free designer’s lunch bag this week :)

  42. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen September 7, 2011 at 2:08 PM - Reply

    Hee hee! I like how our pilot interrupted ;) Love you two!!

  43. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen September 7, 2011 at 1:40 PM - Reply

    I love it when basil shows up in unusual places like dessert! Blueberries and basil sounds just wonderful together.

  44. Priyanka September 7, 2011 at 11:48 AM - Reply

    A yummy post….loved the idea

  45. Nami | Just One Cookbook September 7, 2011 at 11:45 AM - Reply

    Beautiful pictures and guest post Carolyn! Very refreshing flavor with sweet basil and I can have this light dessert everyday!

  46. The Elegant Eggplant September 7, 2011 at 10:57 AM - Reply

    Wonderful post. All the things I love in one, healthy dessert. PERFECT :)

  47. Tina (PinayInTexas) September 7, 2011 at 10:49 AM - Reply

    Wonderful guest post, Carolyn! Great idea of using basil in your panna cotta! Sounds superb!
    Hope you’re having a wonderful vacation, Kate!

  48. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. September 7, 2011 at 10:47 AM - Reply

    This is so pretty! And what a wonderful guest post!

  49. Lindsey@Lindselicious September 7, 2011 at 9:43 AM - Reply

    What a great guest post! I love this basil panna cotta- panna cotta has been on my list to try to make this year. I better hurry time is running out! Love the basil flavor in desserts (or drinks!).

  50. Kristy September 7, 2011 at 9:15 AM - Reply

    I don’t know that I’ve ever had a panna cotta before – but it looks divine! I love the blueberries on top as well. Very impressive dessert and the presentation is marvelous. Hope you’re enjoying the vacay Kate!

  51. Michelle O September 7, 2011 at 8:53 AM - Reply

    Whoa~ not bad for your first panna cotta. I’ve been watching my carbs lately too and love anything with that creamy flan custard texture. I also have a ton of basil that my gardener (boyfriend) has been begging me to use before it turns. I will be trying this one. Saved and buzzed!

  52. Becky September 7, 2011 at 8:24 AM - Reply

    I love your adaption of the Panna Cotta. I never made it, but I have to try this one. A great guest post. Two of my favorite bloggers in one place:)

    Enjoy your vacation.

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