Cranberry and Pistachio Panna Cotta

Cranberry and Pistachio Panna Cotta



Active time:

15 minutes

Ready In:

6 hours and 30 minutes

Good For:



About this Recipe

I don’t know about you, but I always end up with extra cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving and this is the perfect way to use it up.  I usually make my own but this recipe would work with canned as well.  I used my fancy glasses because I don’t get many chances and it really makes a beautiful presentation but ramakins or any small bowls would work. 


  •  1 cup jellied style cranberry sauce
  • 1 tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 vanilla beans or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts (split evenly)
  • 1 tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • pinch of salt

To get started warm the cranberry sauce in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until it is pourable and divide equally in 6 dessert glasses. If you have a chunky style sauce like the Cranberry Blueberry recipe below, blend it with a blender or stick blender and run it through a sieve to get a smooth consistency.  You an angle the glasses or just put a nice layer on the bottom.  Place in the refrigerator while you make the panna cotta.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk in the measuring cup and let it stand 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 2

Pour milk and gelatin into a heavy saucepan and the split vanilla pods and 1/2 of the pistachio nuts.  Stir over medium heat about 5 minutes until the gelatin dissolves.  Don’t let the milk boil. Turn off the heat and let the vanilla beans and pistachio nuts steep in the warm milk for about 10 minutes.

Step 3

Add the cream, honey and salt. Turn the heat on medium and stir 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture is warm but not boiling. Remove from the heat and strain out the vanilla beans and nuts.

Step 4

Remove from the heat and cool for about 15 minutes. Pour into the glasses. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.  Garnish with cranberries (sugared by dipping in simple syrup then sugar) and the remaining nuts.

Naked Pecan Pie Cake

Naked Pecan Pie Cake

Adapted from Southern Living


Filling – Chill at least 4 hours

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ½ cup real maple syrup reduced to 1 cup (or 1 cup dark corn syrup)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 4 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1  cup room temperature butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 c. milk mixed with 1 T. vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 cup real maple syrup reduced to 1 cup (or 1 cup dark corn syrup)
  • Optional 1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries

Sugared Cranberries

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 1/2  cranberries


To begin:  Toast the pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet  in a 350 degree oven for approximately 5 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant.  If using real maple syrup, which will give a more delicate flavor, place the 3 cups into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until it is thickened and reduced to 2 cups.  Dark corn syrup is more traditional and equally delicious if that’s what you have.


Whisk together all ingredients except the butter and vanilla in a 3 quart saucepan until smooth and all lumps are gone. Continue whisking constantly over medium heat until it comes to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute until it is thick.  Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla.  Pour into a heatproof bowl and place plastic wrap on the surface and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but overnight is better.  If you prefer you can quick chill by whisking it over a bowl filed with ice until thick enough to spread.


Generously butter two 9 inch square or three 8 inch round cake pans. Divide 3 cups pecans evenly into buttered pans; shake to coat bottoms and sides of pans.

Beat the butter until smooth and gradually add the sugar beating until fluffy. Add the eggs yolks one at a time and beat until very light and fluffy. Add the vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and baking soda. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk starting and ending with flour. Add the remaining 1 cup of pecans and cranberries if used.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert layers onto wire racks with wax or parchment paper underneath. Brush the tops and sides of each layer with maple syrup or corn syrup, allow to cool completely.

Assembling Cake: 

For three 8 inch layers place one cake layer, pecan side up, on your cake stand; spread half of the filling on top. Place second cake layer, pecan side up, on top of filling; spread with remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer, pecan side up.

For two 9 inch layers cut each layer in half.  Place the bottom half of the first layer on the cake plate, top with 1/3 of the filling on top.  Place second half of the cake pecan side up on top of the filling; repeat with the remaining layers.

Sugared Cranberries

If you desire, decorate with sugared cranberries. 

To make the sugared cranberries make a simple syrup by heating ½ cup each of sugar and water in a small saucepan to a boil.  Add 1 ½ cups cranberries and bring back to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.  Saving the syrup, strain out and place the cranberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and allow to dry for 30 minutes.  Save the simple syrup for use in tea or other beverages.  Finally roll the cranberries in an additional ¼ cup of sugar.  Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for two to three days.  If the sugar coating melts it can be coated again with fresh sugar.

Alaska Trip

Alaska Trip

This is not food, but we took a trip to Alaska with a side trip to Seattle and it was so beautiful I wanted to share.

Seattle Pike Place Market
Seattle Market
Seattle Market