This dark chocolate panna cotta is one of the most delicious and decadent desserts that I’ve made. The texture is creamy, rich, and very similar to a chocolate custard. I would be tempted to call it an eggless chocolate flan – the most smooth and addictive chocolate flan ever. One of the reasons this chocolate panna cotta is so good is that it’s made with some of the best chocolate in the world: Ecuadorian dark chocolate.
Obviously you might think I’m biased towards all things Ecuador – and it’s probably true. However, if you research Ecuadorian chocolate you’ll find that it’s the best new thing to happen to chocolate lovers. Ecuador has been growing some of the finest quality cacao beans for a long time. But it is just recently that local companies have started producing their own high quality chocolate products. Despite the fact that Ecuadorian chocolate is sort of the new kid in town, it’s already started to win a lot of awards on an international scale.
Unfortunately, even with the growing popularity of Ecuadorian chocolate it’s still hard to find it readily available as a retail product outside of Ecuador. Then I heard about a new website, Sense Ecuador, that focused on selling the best quality Ecuadorian products, from chocolate to roses, with free shipping to the US. So, of course, I had to use one of their amazing chocolates, an organic 100% dark chocolate from Hoja Verde, for this chocolate panna cotta recipe.
Ever since I tried panna cotta for the first time I’ve been a huge fan of this dessert. It’s such a simple and easy dessert, but yet that puts so much emphasis on using good quality ingredients – from the cream to the vanilla – to really achieve that perfect flavor and texture. I’m also a huge fan of desserts that are flexible and customizable, you can make panna cotta in so many different flavors. My favorites are the classic vanilla, coconut, and now chocolate.
The dark chocolate, with its richness, add an extra layer of flavor and creaminess to this classic dessert. I used an unsweetened 100% dark chocolate, but you could also use a semi-sweet or sweet dark chocolate – in which case you can omit the extra sugar. The perfect panna cotta should not be overly sweet, and have that perfect balance. Just make sure to use a high quality chocolate to get the best flavor and texture.
Easy recipe for a decadent and creamy dark chocolate panna cotta. This creamy custard like dessert is made with dark chocolate, cream, milk, cocoa powder, sugar, gelatin and vanilla.
- 0.5 oz/14 grams (2 envelopes) of unflavored gelatin
- 2 cups of milk
- 4 cups of heavy cream
- ½ cup – ¾ cup of sugar, adjust to taste (use less if using semisweet chocolate)
- 6 oz (170 grams) of unsweetened dark chocolate, in chips or cut into small chunks (I used Ecuadorian Hoja Verde Organic 100% Dark Chocolate)
- 4 tablespoons (~20 grams) of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Fresh berries, whipped cream, cocoa powder, chocolate shavings
- Put ½ cup of cold milk in a bowl and sprinkle with gelatin to soften.
- In a medium sized pot, heat the rest of the milk, the heavy cream, and the sugar until the mix starts to boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
- Add the dark chocolate and powdered cocoa (sift to avoid clumps), mix well and stir until dissolved.
- Gently stir in the softened gelatin mix and stir well.
- Pour the chocolate panna cotta mix through a mesh strainer, this well help remove any clumps.
- Pour the chocolate panna cotta mix into glasses or molds.
- Let the mix cool down and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
- The dark chocolate panna cotta can be served as is, or with whipped cream, berries, powdered chocolate or chocolate shavings.
If making this dessert using semisweet or any sweetened dark chocolate then decrease the amount of sugar – the panna cotta shouldn’t be overly sweet.
Step by step preparation photos for dark chocolate panna cotta: