If you’re looking for a dessert that packs a ton of flavor, but is light and delicate, you’re right where you need to be. This Cinnamon Panna Cotta Tart is the perfect option for a more refined-feeling fall and winter dessert, in a relatively simple creation process. It’s unique and has contrasting textures, yet the cinnamon and chocolate combination make you feel like you’ve been eating this your whole life. Well, that’s the vibe it gave me, at least ?♀️
What is Panna Cotta?
When my fiance asked me what panna cotta was, I responded with “umm…it’s like milk jello?” While technically I am correct there, a better way to describe it would be a sweet cream thickened with gelatin 😉 Traditionally, this Italian concoction is molded and served on a plate or in a cup, but as a tart-obsessed baker, I had to figure out a way to make this happen!
While the name “panna cotta” feels low key fancy, I urge any level of baker try this Cinnamon Panna Cotta Tart. The sweet tart dough used is so forgiving. If you mess up, you can literally ball it all up and start again, and everything can be patched regardless. Also, panna cotta is basically just heating up some milk and cream — obviously you have that going for you. My only ask is that you PLEASE buy a kitchen thermometer. If this recipe doesn’t tickle your fancy so much that you already planned to buy one, you should truly have one in your kitchen. (You also need to own a kitchen scale but we’ll save that chat for another day). So just buy it, ok?? Thank you.
Ok, last thing! You can also make this recipe into three, 5-inch tart pans for a fun personal dessert type situation. Which like, who doesn’t love an adorably sized dessert just for them? Always a hit, never a miss.
- If your tart dough rips while rolling it out, not to fear! Just patch any tears or holes once it’s in the tart pan using the excess scraps.
- You want a thin, even layer of melted chocolate coating the inside of the tart shell. Too thick and the panna cotta will slide off when you cut your slice, too thin and the panna cotta will saturate your tart shell and make it mushy.
- Put the prepared tart shell in the fridge and THEN pour in the panna cotta. Trying to transfer the filled tart will have you sloshing warm milk all over the place and then you’ll just have a messy tart on your hands. Trust me, I tested this recipe enough times to figure this out very quickly.
- If using the caramel for garnish, make it the same day you make the tart and throw it into the fridge. You’ll have to nuke it in the microwave a bit to get it to a drizzle consistency, though, when you’re ready to decorate.
- Make the whipped cream and decorate the tart the same day you plan to eat it!
- This pairs best with figs, pears, or persimmons.
Ok yay! I can’t wait for you all to try this Cinnamon Panna Cotta Tart. It truly is such a deliciously light treat to hit your taste buds. Don’t forget that kitchen thermometer 😉
Cinnamon Panna Cotta Tart
- 8 or 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom OR three 5-inch tart pans with removable bottom
- Stand mixer with paddle and whisk attachment (or hand mixer)
- Kitchen thermometer
Chocolate Tart Dough
- ½ cup + 1 T unsalted butter room temperature (130g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar 100g
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour 240g
- 2 T cocoa powder 13g
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips melted, 1.5oz
Cinnamon Panna Cotta
- 1 cup whole milk 250 ml
- 1 T cinnamon tea (chai tea also works) or 2 tea bags
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream 125 ml
- 2 T sugar 30g
- 1 ¼ tsp powdered unflavored gelatin 5g
Caramel Sauce (optional)
- ½ cup granulated sugar 100g
- 3 T unsalted butter room temperature (43g)
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream 60g
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
Fresh Whipped Cream (optional)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream 119g
- 2 T powdered sugar 15g
Fruit (optional, garnish)
- Sliced figs, pears, persimmons, or your fruit of choice
Chocolate Tart Shell
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt, and mix on low until just combined.
- Separate the dough into two equal pieces (I recommend weighing this to be exact), and flatten into a 1-inch disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to firm up for 2 hours minimum. You will only need one disc of dough for this recipe, feel free to freeze the other in a ziplock bag for up to 2 months.
- When ready, lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll the dough out, turning a quarter turn every few rolls, until the dough is about ⅛” thick and is 2 inches wider than your tart pan. Throw a bit more flour anywhere your dough may be sticking.
- Transfer the dough to the tart pan, careful not to stretch it, or it will tear. Carefully press the dough into the bottom and sides of the tart pan, then trim off the excess so it’s flush with the top of the tart pan. Use the scraps to patch any weak spots or holes in your dough. Place the tart in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F while the tart freezes.
- Remove from the freezer and dock all over the bottom with a fork. Place a piece of parchment paper (it helps if you crumble it up first) into the shell, and fill completely with pie weights (or dried beans/rice, just don’t eat it afterwards), gently pressing the weights into the bottom and sides to evenly distribute the weight.
- Bake the tart for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and parchment paper and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Transfer the tart to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the tart shell is cool, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in 10 second increments, stirring in between each round until completely smooth and melted. Using a pastry brush or spoon, evenly spread the melted chocolate into a thin, even layer on the bottom and halfway up the sides of the tart. It is important to only bring the melted chocolate halfway up the sides of the tart shell (see notes section). Only use the amount of chocolate you need to do a thin even layer, anything leftover should be discarded (into your mouth, preferably). Place the tart in the fridge to firm up the chocolate.
Cinnamon Panna Cotta
- While the tart is in the oven, begin to make the panna cotta. Bring the milk just to a simmer, turn off the heat, add your tea, and steep for one hour. Once steeped, strain the milk into a glass measuring cup, then pour back into the pot. Add the heavy cream and sugar, then sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the milk and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat to medium low, and whisk until your mixture reaches 120 F. Strain the milk back into the measuring cup, and allow it to cool (stirring every few minutes) until it’s just below 100 F. Carefully pour the milk into the shell, and leave it in the fridge to set overnight, or for about 12 hours. (See notes section for tips here).
Caramel Sauce (optional)
- Add the sugar to a heavy bottomed saucepan and turn to medium heat. Stir the sugar occasionally as it melts. The sugar will turn sandy, clump up, then will start to melt. Once the sugar has melted and has turned an amber color, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, stirring until incorporated. It may look separated at this point, but just keep going.
- Add the heavy cream and salt and stir until combined and bubbly. Pour the caramel into a heat proof jar or bowl and allow to cool completely.
Whipped Cream (optional)
- Place your empty bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 15 minutes. Add the heavy whipping cream to the bowl, and whip on high speed. Just before stiff peaks have formed, add the powdered sugar, and finish whipping until stiff.
- Drizzle the caramel on the tart in any pattern of your choosing. Pipe or spread on the whipped cream, and arranged the sliced fruit.