Lemon lime & bitters panna cotta – inspired by MasterChef 2014

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the first few episodes of MasterChef Australia 2014 yet, you must go to their website right now and catch up! They have had such a crazy and exciting start that I’ve actually already shed a tear or 2. There are truly amazing people on the show but yet they are so down to earth. They could be the Jack or Jill just living next door. In fact, I’ve seen past contestants shopping at the same markets as me.

Since I had a sneak peak of George’s lemon lime and bitters dessert (above) before it aired on Tuesday night, that night’s episode felt especially close to heart. I felt so sorry for the contestants to have to recreate something so unique and Heston like so early in the competition. I guess it really is game on right from the start.

This dessert has actually been added to The Press Club’s menu this week so if you’re curious as to what it tastes like, go and try for yourself!

I managed to make a dessert of my own with the same theme but I couldn’t get it done before my post went live on Tuesday so I’m presenting it to you now. It’s of course no where near as good as George’s, but we still enjoyed it so hopefully you’ll enjoy it too. It’s just in time for Mother’s Day as well! If you’re at a loss as to what to make for her tonight, why not give this a go? You’ll make it if you start it right now. 😉

It’s a lemon lime and bitters panna cotta with lime panna cotta, lemon curd and bitters on top. I added a secret ingredient – Solerno – which is a blood orange liquer to the top. I absolutely love this liquer but of course it’s not essential for this dish at all, only if you want to be a bit more indulgent and of course only add it for those over 18.

Lemon lime & bitters panna cotta
Total time: 6 hours 20 mins
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking & setting time: 6 hours
Serves 4


– 2 cups (or roughly 480ml) thickened cream*
– 2.5 tbsp (or 40ml) of lime juice
– zest of 1 lime and half a lemon
– 1/4 cup (or about 75g) of caster sugar
– 1/2 tbsp unflavoured gelatin powder
– small wedges of lime to garnish
– 1 tsp Angostura Bitters (roughly)
– 2 tbsp lemon curd**
– 1 tsp Solerno blood orange liquer***


1. Combine the cream, sugar and half of the lime zest into a saucepan on medium heat.
2. Heat the mixture for about 5-7 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved. Make sure you don’t boil it. Set aside.
3. Add the gelatin powder to about 2 tbsp of cold water to soften and leave for around 10 minutes.
4. Pour simmered cream onto the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Leave to cool for a few more minutes and then add the lime juice. Stir carefully to combine.****
5. Run mixture through a sieve.
6. Pour cream mixture into 4 ramekins or glasses and let it set in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours. Overnight is preferable if you have the time..
7. Once the panna cotta has set, start assembling. Top the panna cottas with a teaspoon of lemon curd each followed by a small amount of lime and lemon zest. Add a few drops of bitters and a wedge of lime to the side of the glass/ramekin. Add a small dash of Solerno if you have it.***
8. Serve chilled and with a big smile! Remember to squeeze a bit of lime juice on top with the wedge of lime before consuming to give extra zing.

* If you don’t want your panna cotta to be so thick, you can add up to half cream half milk
** Due to a lack of time, I actually used pre-made lemon curd but making it from scratch would be a lot better. There are plenty of recipes on the internet that you can use. I also wanted to make candied lemon to use as a topping as well but ran out of time also. This would be an interesting addition I think!
*** You can omit this ingredient if you don’t want a very alcoholic dessert or if you can’t source it.
****You must be careful with this recipe that the cream doesn’t curdle when you add in the lime juice as citrus and cream make it very easy to do that. It’s best to add in the juice when the mixture had cooled significantly and don’t add in excessive amounts of lime juice.

MasterChef is back tonight at 7:30pm so hope you’ll all be tuning in to Channel Ten with me. Like I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, MasterChef Season 6 runs every Sunday to Monday night at 7:30pm with the exception of this week which is Sunday to Wednesday only.

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2 comments… add one
  • Rosa May 11, 2014, 8:15 pm

    Divine! A wonderful dessert.



  • Eden Passante February 26, 2016, 9:21 am

    This looks so beautiful! I love the presentation and the flavor combinations sound amazing!


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