Store Cupboard Panna Cotta

Ok, this won’t literally plop out of a can or jar ready-to-eat, but it doesn’t require much effort to prepare, and costing less than £1 per person (actually 42p or thereabouts), it will also be easy on your pocket if you fancy a treat during those lean weeks after Christmas.

Panna Cotta sounds so fancy, and it probably is when served at an Italian restaurant. However, I experimented to create a budget version that uses mainly tinned ingredients.

Traditional recipes call for milk and cream, but evaporated milk is pretty rich which makes it a good substitute for both, so long as you don’t mind the colour of this dessert looking a little darker than is customary.

Another shortcut would be to use Princes Summer Fruits as topping (since that requires no prep before consumption) or anything similar, but if you want to make your own, I have included instructions for a basic mango compote.


• 1 tin of Evaporated Milk (375ml)
• 2 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 sachet Gelatine*
4 tbsp Hot Water

Combine milk and sugar in pot. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

Dissolve gelatine in hot water, then whisk into milk mixture. Stir in the vanilla essence.

Pour mixture into moulds and leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate until set.

Turn Panna Cotta out of mould** and serve with toppings of choice.

*For increased “wobbliness”, use less gelatine, but no less than 3 tbsp of the granules. The gelatine-water tbsp ratio should be 1:1.

**Recommend vigorously shaking the mould side-to-side to loosen its contents, before placing a dish on top and flipping. Alternatively, run a very thin knife all the way round.

mango compote


• ½ tin of Mango*** Slices in Juice (1 cup)
1 tbsp Juice (from tin)
1 tbsp Orange/Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Sugar

Dice the mango.

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan.

Heat over a low flame until the sugar melts and liquid reduces so the mixture has a sticky consistency.

***Replace with any tinned or fresh/frozen fruit you prefer. If using the latter, you might need to add an extra spoonful of orange/lemon juice, but just in case, do a taste test first!

Not sure why, but I find that I’ve been quite productive in the kitchen this winter. Perhaps it’s a combination of factors, what with it being an uneventful time of year when few plans are made – recent festivities still taking their toll, and grey skies so conducive to mooching indoors…might as well indulge in some weekend baking, which would of course be pointless without the bingeing, such as on these homemade butter cookies, and an assortment of other yummy goodness!

homemade butter cookies

At this rate, I will no doubt be big as a house before Spring comes along, and should probably do Lent. 😆