Panna Cotta with Orange Sauce, a påske treat

A tangy taste of Easter

panna cotta

Photo courtesy of MatPrat
In Norway, oranges have long been associated with Easter, making this recipe for Panna Cotta with Orange Sauce a perfect påske treat.

Kristi Bissell
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American

Panna cotta is one of the simplest desserts you can make, yet it is incredibly tasty and good! If you make this smooth velvety vanilla pudding and a tangy orange sauce to go with it, you will have the perfect Easter dessert.

What makes this dessert particularly perfect for påske is its orange sauce. Oranges are a symbol of Easter in Norway, and Norwegians eat more than 20 million oranges on Easter weekend. The tradition is thought to have started when oranges were only available in late winter, and they symbolized the coming of spring.

Another great thing about this dessert is that panna cotta is a fantastic make-ahead dessert! You can prepare your individual servings up to three days ahead and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Panna cotta will actually keep for longer, but for best flavor, serving it within three days is best.

PANNA COTTA with Orange Sauce     

serves 8


For the panna cotta:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 ½ tsps. powdered gelatin (1 packet)
  • 6 tbsps. granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract or ½ of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise with paring knife and scraped

For the orange sauce:

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, strained through a fine mesh strainer
  • 1 tbsp. butter


  1. Pour the milk in a medium-sized saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat the milk and gelatin mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the gelatin has dissolved completely and the mixture is steaming.
  3. Add the sugar and salt and remove from the heat, stirring until dissolved.
  4. Add the cream and vanilla to the milk mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or something with a pourable spout.
  5. Pour the mixture evenly into 8 serving glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until set, at least 4 hours.
  6. Meanwhile, make the orange sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and pinch of salt. Add the orange juice and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the sauce becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Chill completely before serving.
  7. To serve, top each panna cotta-filled glass with a few spoonfuls of sauce. Garnish with orange segments or orange zest if desired.

This article originally appeared in the March 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog,