Cinnamon Basil Panna Cotta with Berries

The potted herb garden is beginning to thrive now after a few snaps of cold weather and the four citrus trees are also beginning to show signs of blooming. I love planting herbs in a garden, but where I live the deer roam and eat nearly everything young and tender, even thorny stems of a citrus tree.

Of all the basil varieties, one of my favorites is the cinnamon basil plant. Cinnamon basil has the same chemical as cinnamon bark, hence the name. A bit cold sensitive, this herb is best started indoors. Cinnamon basil is a great companion plant for tomatoes as it keeps aphids and mites away. I can’t wait  to see the herb produce lovely purplish-pink flowers which look lovely in an herbal bouquet as well as   using the leaves to make a cinnamon basil syrup. The syrup is not only used to macerate the berries, but a couple of tablespoons are used to soften the unflavored gelatin for the panna cotta.

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Since this panna cotta is not baked as in a creme brûlée or a flan, I was excited that I could use part of my collection of cups and saucers that I pick up at estate sales or thrift shops. I have a few matching cups and saucers, but I like to mix and match only similar colors and different shape cups when I use them in my food photography or still life projects. Some are chipped or cracked, but as long as they are intact and food safe, I have no problem with the slight imperfections. It means they were lovingly used.

 photo GingerBeerBottles-1.jpg

Cinnamon Basil Panna Cotta
with Blackberries and Raspberries
(Serves 6)

For the Panna Cotta-

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons cinnamon basil syrup (recipe follows)

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt

For Berries-

1 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
Cinnamon basil syrup to taste
1/2 lime, juiced
Cinnamon basil leaves for garnish


Combine unflavored gelatin and cinnamon basil syrup. Let sit about 10 minutes until softened. In a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, half and half and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Heat until small bubbles appear around the sides of the pan. Remove from heat-add softened gelatin. Stir until gelatin has been incorporated into the cream.

Evenly distribute between vessels of choice. Refrigerate at least four hours or overnight. Top with berries in syrup, as desired.

Cinnamon Basil Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

5 sprigs cinnamon basil, gently rinsed and dried

Bring water and sugar to boil over high heat. Whisk until sugar has dissolved. Add cinnamon basil-boil for 60 seconds. Remove from heat and let steep for about 30 minutes. Remove herbs from syrup. Strain into a bottle. Store covered in the refrigerator. Keeps almost indefinitely!

This is my contribution to  Weekend Herb Blogging #382,  hosted this week by Elena of Zibaldone Culinario Weekend Herb Blogging is now managed by Haalo of Cook ( Almost) Anything Once having taken over the reins from its creator, Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen.


Please do not use images or text without my permission. 


  1. elena
    May 6, 2013 / 8:59 pm

    Thanks for your partecipation, the recipe is wonderful, and the photos too!the recap is on line!I'm sorry for the delay, bye!

  2. Anonymous
    May 8, 2013 / 10:44 am

    These look absolutely gorgeous, I love your teacup presentation!

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