Limoncello melon panna cotta

my very own light, fruity and good looking melon mousse

It is not surprising that panna cotta is such a popular dessert in Italy. It is easy to make for a few people as it is for a crowd and it lends itself to endless variations of flavor and presentation.
The melon panna cotta is my own creation, made by substituting the milk in the classic recipe with pureed fruit. You can use other seasonal fruit like strawberries, peaches or mangos with quite splendid results.


  • g 150 (5 oz) cleaned cubed cantaloupe melon
  • 2 sheets gelatin
  • 70 gr. ( ¼ cup)  sugar
  • 150 ml ( 2/3 cup) whipping cream
  • ½ teasp vanilla extract


  • 1 slice of melon
  • juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 scant tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon limoncello

For the garnish, mix lemon juice, sugar and limoncello in a bowl. Scoop out the flesh of 1/4 of a melon with a melon baller and transfer the melon balls in the limoncello mixture. Refrigerate for at least one hour or until ready to serve.

Freeze 4 serving cups or ramekins. The panna cotta mixture will set faster if the serving cups are very cold.

For the panna cotta, soften the gelatin in cold water for at least 15 min. Meanwhile, blend the diced melon and sugar until smooth and transfer it to a pan. Bring the mixture to almost boiling point and then remove from the heat. Remove the gelatin from the cold water and squeeze the sheets lightly with your hand to get rid of excess moisture. Add the gelatin to the melon mixture, whisk it in well and then add the vanilla and the cream. After mixing thoroughly, allow the mixture to cool completely. Pour the mixture into the frozen serving cups or ramekins and place them in the refrigerator (not in the freezer) for 2- 3 hours.

Serve the melon mousse topped prettily with the marinated melon balls and fresh edible flowers or herbs, like mint or verbena, to decorate.

As explained for the classic panna cotta, if using powder gelatin, do not soften it in water but use a small amount of cream or milk instead. Once softened, add both the cream and the gelatin to the warm melon mixture.
Serves 4.

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  1. Panna cotta and fruit, can’t wait to try it out!
    Glad that you are back on the blog. Ti abbraccio. Maria

  2. Thanks for posting this! My mom and I have both tried various versions with mango, peach, and strawberries. Thank you again for such a wonderful afternoon!! Cooking in your kitchen was the perfect dessert to our vacation!

  3. I’m having a dinner party on Sunday…this is a perfect end of summer dessert. I still have a few sheets of the gelatin you gave me when we were there making fresh pasta. It’s been a year already. I think we need to come back for a refresher course. My husband has started taking cooking classes with me now so I think he’d join us the next time we get to Italy…soon I hope.
    Cheers, Marvyl

  4. I ‘ve made Letizia’s panna cotta many times and can add this gelatin tweeking a bit. While the mathematical calculation is correct, I find that adding 1/4 of a packet more approaches the consistency of the panna cotta. In any event, my guests love this, regardless of the consistency.

  5. Another of your recipes I am eager to try! My Laguna friends love my experimenting with your Italian inspirations.

  6. Ciao Letizia – we are back home & I just wanted to thank you again for the wonderful day we spent cooking with you. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip! We will definitely be making the above dessert again & soon – it was FANTASTIC! Im hoping to have fresh cantaloupe from my garden soon. My tomatoes are coming in nicely – would you be able to point me to the farro salad recipe that we made? Thanks – & I just started my hunt for the Elderberry bush so I’ll let you know how that goes. By the way, I tried friending you on FB but I couldnt so I subscribed – not sure if that’s the same thing. Let me know if you found the magnet glasses holder- if not I’ll find out where I got it from. Take care & thanks again – Maira Testa

    • Hi Maria, how wonderful to hear from you and to know that you are going to use the knowledge of teh cooking class soon! Sorry it has taken a few days, but only yesterday I have managed to publish the recipe of the farro salad, here it is. I have now friended on FB, I don’t know why it did not let you do it! All the very best and a million thanks for having been here! Ciao, Letizia

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