Welcome, Jill Colonna: Rose and White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Cherry and Cardamom Coulis

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The instant that I saw this book on Amazon, I clicked the “add to cart” button. I had to have it.

When we were yay high, my mom used to make macarons for us on a weekly basis – almost every Sunday there would be a batch ready for us to tackle. And tackle we did, as you can imagine.

But when we decided to grow up, and when life got in the way, mom stopped making them. By the time I noticed, I had moved out and gone to college. Years passed before I finally heard, or in this instance, read about macarons.

When I received this book, I could not put it down; I read it from front to cover the first night that it was in my hands. I had forgotten about these delicious gems and this cookbook took me right back to a childhood that I so dearly miss.

~My first attempt at Macarons. Don’t worry, I’ll get better! :-)~

Today, without further ado, I would like to welcome the author of “Mad About Macarons!  Make Macarons Like the French”, Jill Colonna. She is one of the most sincere, genuine, and incredibly beautiful people I have ever met. And I’m not saying that just because she accepted my guest-post invitation 🙂 – she is a wonderful person and I am very happy that she and I have become great friends in such a short period of time. I am so excited, and grateful, to see her here on Diethood!

When you have finished drooling here, head on over to Jill’s blog, Mad About Macarons, for more of her delicious creations! And, if you want to make trouble-free macarons, get the book – you’ll love the tips that she shares!

Bonjour! I’m Jill. It’s lovely to meet you on Diethood.  I was so excited to be asked to do my first ever guest post that I wanted to leap out the screen and hug Kate.  Not only is she a talented girl with delicious recipes and ideas, she taught us to say “To your health” phonetically in Macedonian!  I knew this would be fun.

In a nutshell:  I’m Scottish, started out as a musician then went on to do marketing at business school. There I met my French (Corsican!) husband who whisked me over to Paris nearly 20 years ago and I’ve been living here ever since!  After 10 years in an International Organisation, I’m finally pursuing my greatest passions: cooking, eating good food, tasting wine, music and enjoying the French way of life.

I started up the website in October 2010 to coincide with the launch of my book, “Mad About Macarons!  Make Macarons Like the French” with Waverley Books. Last week the site was finally made blogger-friendly and so now I’m looking forward to sharing my foodie adventures with you in and around Paris.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share one of my favorite desserts with all you foodie lovers:

Rose and White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Cherry and Cardamom Coulis

What I love about the Panna Cotta is it’s so simple.  It’s the kind of dessert you rattle out when in a rush and don’t have time to think of anything over the top or fancy.  It does the job and once you have the basic recipe you can make all sorts of flavor combinations – even savory.

Informal? Serve them in funky little yogurt pots or shot glasses for parties with some fruit or purée dolloped on top. Something more formal? Pour into silicone molds and turn them out on serving plates surrounded with a fruit purée and be creative on decor.  For a touch of Parisian elegance, mes amis, add a rose macaron or two, serve with a glass of bubbly and feel the toes curl…

Talking of bubbles, I needed a flute of pink Champagne just for the sake of a romantic shot.  In the end, the bottle and stem of the flute are barely visible.  I tried to get the Champagne in view but the angle was wrong; drank some more to see if a lower level would work.  No use.  Drank the whole lot and it still didn’t show.  In fact, there’s maybe a bit of camera shake?  Never mind.  It was deliciously fun!

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours

You will need:

For the Panna Cotta:

  • 3 gelatine leaves, 2 grams each
  • 400 ml single cream (min 30% fat)
  • 100 ml rosewater
  • few drops of red coloring
  • 80 grams white cooking chocolate
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar


For the Coulis:

  • 2 cups cherries, pitted
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Seeds from 2 cardamom pods


  • Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.
  • Heat together the cream, rosewater, coloring and sugar in a saucepan and gradually melt in the white chocolate.  Stir until smooth.

  • Squeeze in the gelatine and stir to dissolve into the warm cream.
  • Pour into non-stick silicone molds.  Here I used briochette molds but you could use muffin molds.
  • Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, make the coulis: place the cherries in a saucepan with water (no need for water if your cherries are frozen since not in season), sugar, lemon juice and the cardamom seeds.

  • Cook for about 10 minutes until the cherries are soft.  Transfer to a blender and blitz to a smooth sauce.
  • When ready to serve, run the underside of the molds briefly under hot water then carefully turn them out directly on to the serving plates and pour around the coulis.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

46 Responses
  1. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    Wow, Kate. Your macarons are gorgeous. I can’t believe it was your first time making them. I’ve never tried and am very daunted by the thought. Thanks for introducing me to Jill too!

    Jill, I stand in awe of your skill and the wonders you’ve shown that we can do with the macaron. Thank goodness you found your husband and he took you to France! Thank you for guest posting for Kate and for sharing your experience with us.

  2. Claudia

    I wish I could adhere a sticky note to this! But it has been noted and bookmarked. I especially love the coulis. And Jill’s blog has been a joy to follow. Happy Valentine’s Day Kate and Jill!

  3. BigFatBaker

    This is such a beautiful dessert. I have read about making panna cotta with rosewater a few times today…I am so tempted to run to the store and make some for Valentine’s Day tomorrow. This is also the second time today i’ve heard someone mention Mad about Macarons. I should probably pick one up and make some, and get over my macaron making fear!

  4. Susan

    Wow! I am so impressed by this dessert … champagne included… wink, wink! I have never made macarons but I have made a basic panna cotta. Maybe I could branch out to do something like this! Thanks for such a great switch-up on traditional panna cotta! This is exquisite!

  5. Becky

    This is such a great guest post and your panna cotta, is so beautiful, the perfect Valentine dessert. I’ve never made panna cotta or macrons, so I’m adding them to my “to make” list.

    Thanks Kate for introducing us to Jill. Happy Valentines Day to both of you.

  6. The Mistress of Spices

    I love panna cotta, and this is a lovely one! I love the addition of rosewater… it’s always such a striking yet subtle flavor. Great job!

  7. Leanna @ Raptortoe.com

    Your macarons look fiiine! I can’ t wait to try my own. I’ve been meaning to forever. I just have to commit to buying a silpat….blerg.

  8. Sandra

    Jill for a first attempt your macaroons are great and thanks for inviting Jill to Diethood. Jill your presentation is striking and I would like to try your recipe. Just have to hunt down the rosewater. Thank you both.

  9. Chef Dennis

    Hi Kate and Jill

    what a wonderful guest post! I love panna cotta and your version is not only beautiful but without a doubt delicious! I would love to have this as my Valentines Day Dessert!

  10. Mateja

    Lovely post Kate! Your macarons look great and the guest post and the recipe are so wonderful! thank you for introducing us to Jill and her delicious craft 🙂

  11. veggietestkitchen

    your first attempt at macarons are lovely! they look just perfect. i can’t wait to see your creations from the book! cheers.

  12. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines

    This is so beautiful. I’ve been excited to try macaroons since reading Jill’s blog. I haven’t tackled them yet, but I will soon. This dessert is so perfect for V-day! Hope all of you have a happy one! You have a lovely blog btw too Kate!

  13. Kim - Liv Life

    Jill, that panna cotta is simply stunning! I’ve never actually made one, but like the macaroons, I’m eager to try. I had to laugh at your champagne “in the shot” work. Nice job trying!
    I enjoyed your short bio, sounds like the perfect life! Looking forward to more Le Blog!!

  14. Sara @CaffeIna

    This is so creative! I can just imagine how heavenly it feels to bit a macaron and then a white chocolate panna cotta (which is indeed my favorite panna cotta!)

  15. Laurie @ Foodslove

    Jill !!! How fabulous! My two favorite Bloggers in one place!
    Love the ease of it! I have always been intimidated by panna cotta.. thanks for making it accessible.

    Thanks Kate for bringing this to us!

  16. lil @ sweetsbysillianah

    oh this is so fun! two of my favorite foodie friends in one post! =) kate – i can’t believe your mom used to make macarons for your family on a regular basis… what a life! 😉 i love your introduction of Jill – definitely echoes my sentiments exactly… you both exude such warmth and genuineness that truly sticks out from the rest of the pack!

    jill – panna cotta is also one of my fave desserts and it’s been on my list to make for quite some time now…you’ve finally convinced me to give it a go! i absolutely love the pink heart mac on top. just a darling presentation… i totally understand your issue with trying to get a shot w/ the champagne glass. sometimes less is more, and this one definitely is – beautiful! thanks for sharing!
    (sorry for writing a novel here… lol!)

  17. fooddreamer

    These are just gorgeous. I’ve checked out Jill’s site before, but didn’t have a chance to comment, but I know if I ever decide to tackle macarons, hers is the site I will go to. Nice to see a different dessert from her too, though!

  18. Spinneys Cauldron

    Ooooh soooo talented one, beautiful dessert, aesthetically pleasing & no doubt delicious. Well done, keep the deliciousness flowing 🙂

  19. thoma

    it’s my first time here and the first thing i noticed before the dessert was tht both guest and host are incredibly pretty!!
    thank you kate, for doing it this way.
    jill, this is too good. i’m so proud to have a fellow blogger like you. you write well…where did tht pink heart come from?? didn find in the recipe…

    1. Jill

      Thoma, Hi (blushing again). Just to say that much that I’d love to post the recipe for the pink heart macaron, my publishers can’t allow it. Hope you understand! There’s the book, however 😉 and we’ll be posting on the web my macaron demonstration on Scottish TV on Monday when I’ll be showing how to make them…

  20. Sprinkled with Flour

    I’ve never made panna cotta, but it always looks so creamy and delicious that I want to try it. Your sounds so delicious!

  21. Gale Reeves

    I too HAD TO HAVE the book when I found it on Amazon. I’ve been making macarons for a few months. I’m anxious to try a recipe from this book.

  22. Sandra

    This is stunning, what a great guest post! Nicely done, and I am going to check Jill’s web now! Did I say it look amazingly tasty? Yum:))

  23. Jill

    Gosh. Thanks for that introduction, Kate. I’m blushing like a beetroot! Loved seeing your macarons and looking forward to seeing many more. So excited to be on Diethood 🙂

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