Italian dessert a la Maroque

Panna cotta, a little different. Oh yeah, and it’s for passover dinner.

First I have to say I hate using (and eating) gelatin. but you need gelatin for panna cotta, so i looked for a recipe that used as little gelatin as possible, obviously, I ended up using a french recipe with some adjustments


  • 1l cream +200ml milk (~5 cups in total)
  • 140gr sugar (1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 gelatin leaves, that should be 2gr each (i.e. 8gr of gelatin; for firm panna cotta, like in the Israeli recipes, you will need 14gr gelatin. I also got a tip from a friend -for 1ltr creme, 8gr gelatin +3 egg yolks. didn’t try it, but maybe you should)
  • vanilla
  • 6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

Put the gelatin in cold water, heat the cremes and milk with the flavors (sugar, cardamom, and vanilla) cook until the creme is flavorful. Drain the gelatin leaves and mix them in the creme. Mix well and pour to Moroccan-style cups (yes, they must be Moroccan!) through a strainer. Cool for several hours.

Pistachio nougatine (or naughtiness, according to the auto-correct) :

  • 200gr sugar (1 cup)
  • 30ml water (2tbs)
  • 80gr glucose
  • 100gr roughly chopped pistachios (1 cup)

Heat the sugar and water in a non stick pan, when the sugar dissolves add the glucose. Cook until the mixture caramelizes (i.e. get a light brown-yellow-orange color, not dark brown!) add the pistachios mix to cover them with the caramel. Pour the caramel on an oiled sheet of backing paper (here I used aluminum foil, but backing paper was better) and try to roll it with a steel roller, or a roller covered in aluminum foil and oil, or just between to oiled backing sheets. Roll thinly as you can. Then, while it is still hot, cut with a heated and oiled knife. It is not such an easy job, the nougatine sheet breaks quite easily when it cools down. But you can also go ‘freestyle’ and break it to medium size pieces instead of killing your knife.

To serve: use some cut strawberries, sliced bananas or espresso mousse.

I made espresso mousse, but I felt it wasn’t good enough for these cups of joy, so I gave it up. I chose strawberries instead, to lighten the desert a little, since a dessert based  on cream is very heavy, especially with ‘warm’ spices (like cardamom or cinnamon). Now I am going to make some espresso sauce to top this (just a few drops!).


  • Don’t use more than 2 sheets of gelatin per 500ml liquid, not necessary (It comes out in shape! I checked) and not tasty.
  • I used 70gr sugar for 600ml, but I would have been happy to use less… I think 50gr is enough.
  • It is easy to divide or multiply this recipe, easy and fast to make, just need some cooling time.
  • Try not to burn yourself when making caramel, it is hot! and try not to brake your knife. Oh, and don’t use salt instead of sugar.
  • If you are not celebrating passover and the absence of sour dough, serve with a normal cookie, of your choice, something like biscotti?
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