Teacup Panna Cotta with Berries in Creme de Violette Syrup

Teacup Panna Cotta with Berries in Creme de Violette syrup | BoulderLocavore.com

Mother’s Day is my favorite day of the entire year, hands down.  Even more than my birthday.  It’s like Hallmark handed me an ‘off duty’ pass and everyone knows it.  Last year each of my children wanted to cook something for me.  My son, the youngest, Googled ‘gluten free food kids can cook themselves’ to land on some gluten-free chocolate truffle cookies which he made in secret (with a little help from my husband).  My daughter pulled out her American Girl Doll mini food cookbook and made a teeny tiny cake from a cookie and some faux watermelon slices of lime wedges and red jello (which I completely inappropriately mistook for jello shots; not my finest maternal moment).

Teacup Panna Cotta with Creme de Violette syrup | BoulderLocavore.com

Most holidays can be made special without a lot of extraordinary effort.  I’m inspired right now by the budding of spring, light fresh flavors and flowers.  There are many things in my garden that are edible which pop up before the deliberately planted annual vegetables and herbs do.  I’ve been waiting through weekly, sloppy spring snow storms for the violets to bloom.  They smell wonderful but also are edible; perfect for decorating desserts or throwing into salads.

Teacup Panna Cotta - BoulderLocavore.com

I recently became hooked on Crème de Violette liqueur after visiting the stately Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs where I enjoyed a Purple Pin adult milkshake.  It has a subtle flavor that tastes as violets smell.  It’s reminds me of spring when everything is a bit more subtle.

Since I declare myself off the clock for the weekend I wanted to prepare a special dessert that others might make for any special moms in their lives or themselves!    Panna Cotta is a simple dessert from Northern Italy that can be whipped up in a snap.  Essentially cream, sugar, vanilla and gelatin, it is a fresh-flavored dessert easily adorned with preferred flavors or fresh fruits.  It is creamy but not overly sweet nor is the violet syrup.  It’s a unique and special dessert!

Teacup Panna Cotta - BoulderLocavore.com

To add a bit of whimsy to the holiday I poured the Panna Cotta into teacups, full vintage cups and large espresso cups then adorned them with fresh blackberries and raspberries in a syrup of Crème de Violette.  The dish screams ‘spring’ and would make a wonderful surprise for Mother’s Day.  It is simple enough for older children (and husbands too!) to be able to make it themselves!

Teacup Panna Cotta with Creme de Violette syrup | BoulderLocavore.com

Teacup Panna Cotta with Berries in Violet-flavored Syrup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 2 cups Panna Cotta and 6 tablespoons Creme de Violette syrup

Panna Cotta is a simple, delicious custard dessert dressed for spring with fresh berries in Creme de Violette syrup. The Panna Cotta can be chilled to serve in any teacups; shown here large espresso cups and small vintage full sized teacups.


    Ingredients for Panna Cotta:
  • 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ cup granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 packet Gelatin
  • 1/2-1 cup mixed berries (I used blackberries and raspberries)
  • Ingredients for Creme de Violette Syrup:
  • ¾ cups Crème de Violette liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


    Instructions for Panna Cotta:
  1. In a small bowl combine the packet of gelatin with 3 tablespoons of cold water; whisk to combine and set aside.
  2. In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until sugar is fully dissolved.
  3. Add gelatin mixture (which will be solidified); whisk to dissolve gelatin and fully combine with cream mixture.
  4. Pour into desired tea cups and place in the refrigerator for 4 hours. Note: I place the teacups on a baking sheet to keep them stabilized. Panna Cotta may be made the day prior and if so I suggest covering the top with plastic wrap once cooled.
  5. Instructions for Creme de Violette Syrup:
  6. Combine ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is reduced by half (about 10 minutes). Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature (about 20 minutes). The mixture will thicken as it cools. Note: the alcohol cooks off when simmering.
  7. Instructions to serve Panna Cotta:
  8. Place berries in a bowl and pour Creme de Violette syrup over them. Spoon gently coating all berries and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Spoon berries and syrup over the individual Panna Cotta and serve.


The bulk of the recipe time is allowing the Panna Cotta to fully chill for 4 hours.


Teacup Panna Cotta with Creme de Violette syrup | BoulderLocavore.com

Mother's Day gift idea!  This initial cup was a gift from a friend a few years ago from Anthropologie.  You could make the Panna Cotta in a cute personalized mug for Mom and when the dessert is finished, she'll have a great momento!
Mother’s Day gift idea! This initial cup was a gift from a friend a few years ago from Anthropologie. You could make the Panna Cotta in a cute personalized mug for Mom and when the dessert is finished, she’ll have a great momento!


  1. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb says

    I had heard of Crème de Violette before but I have never had the chance to get a hand on it yet. Gorgeous panna cotta Toni!

    • says

      Helene it is a relatively new discovery to me and I’m completely smitten! As mentioned it tastes as violets smell (weird but I’m sure you understand!). It’s a deep purple color as well. I find the flavor light and springy. It was beautiful with these berries and panna cotta!

  2. Gina says

    You have no idea how much I crave and love panna cotta and spend ungodly amounts of money when I go to Italian restaurants to get it. I will definitely be making this recipe.

    As the others said, the whimsical presentation of the food and the beautiful photography really are something fit for wiley gnomes and gorgeous garden fairies. Such a literally and figuratively sweet thing to make for mothers everywhere.

    • says

      Gina this panna cotta is perfection to me; not overly sweet, a beautiful creamy texture. And EASY! There is something about panna cotta that seems it would be fussier; it’s not. I love your last comments. Thank you so much.

  3. Gina says

    Not a problem at all! I am now following you on Facebook; I live in Atlanta, but love that you have an appreciation for local foods and good, REAL foods. If you see posts, likes, or comments from Food Porn Media or food | porn, that’s me!

  4. says

    Toni this is so cute! I love the sound of the violet syrup and that violet adult milkshake has me very curious. I love panna cotta and serving them in little teacups is genius.

  5. says

    Your kids are so sweet. It is no wonder you enjoy Mother’s Day the most.

    Love those purple spring flowers. There seems to be many more purple varieties in Colorado. I wish I knew back then that they were edible. They make a beautiful garnish for your lovely dessert. Happy Mother’s Day!

  6. Colleen says

    I always feel I am getting more flavor when the presentation is so beautiful. Thank you for the idea to use pretty teacups. During the week (when it’s not a special day) I like to have berries with cream for breakfast. If it’s a work day, leaving out the liqueur is a good idea for me 🙂 My sister tells me that heavy cream, having no carbohydrates, actually lowers the glycemic index of the meal, making it healthy, delicious, and less likely to make me gain weight. All good things.

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