Panda Cotta – Panna Cotta with Black Sesame Jelly

Hello, world. For those of you (hopefully that’s a few people here and there) reminiscing about the good old days when semi-regular blog posts were a thing, fear not! The wedding started on time, I didn’t trip down the aisle, the Fiancé is now the Husband, we have regretfully returned from a week of nonstop eating in Japan (hobbit style, with elevenses and afternoon tea and supper and dinner), and my weekends can now be spent recuperating from the work week and dreaming up new blog posts. Yay!


Autocorrect – can’t live without it, can’t live with it. It can uncannily predict your desire to convey “I’m on my way home” from “im omw hpmr” and correct your repeated misspellings of “vacuum” every time. Yet it also translates “hordes of tourists” to “horses of tourists”, because that obviously makes more sense. Best of all, a certain someone’s reliance on autocorrect may have blessed the world with “covfefe”. Or maybe it was just a slip of his small orange hands? The world shall never know. Covfefe!

Right panda: My face is slipping! Covfefe!

Anyway, I digress. I’m not 100% confident I can blame/thank autocorrect for our new go-to, multi-use utility word, but autocorrect dreamed up this recipe for me and for that I am thankful.

Let us hurdle back in time to when the Husband and I were “just friends” and “casually having conversation” via Facebook messenger 12+ hours a day. One day as I was concurrently making panna cotta and regaling him with the minutiae of my kitchen exploits, autocorrect decided on its own volition that by panna I surely meant panda.

Me: I’m making panda cotta!

Me: Panda cotta

Me: Not panda, panda cotta!

Me: omg


Him: …


At a certain point in the conversation riddled with inadvertent pandas, I decided that since autocorrect was so set on panda cotta, I would give it what it wanted. Panda cotta was born – I made a single panda cotta for the Not-Yet-Boyfriend, which he enjoyed before the rest of the guests arrived. The other guests had to settle for plain old panna cotta. It’s okay though, now everyone can make it for themselves and enjoy it whenever they like.

As for that first ever panda cotta, I like to think that its cuteness made the Not-Yet-Boyfriend fall in love with me just a little more. Hehehe.



Panda Cotta aka Panna Cotta with Black Sesame Jelly

Serves 8-10

Black Sesame Jelly
1 cup black sesame powder
2 cups water
1 package (.25 oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
4 tbsp granulated sugar

Panna Cotta
1/3 cup whole milk
1 package (.25 oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Panda Cotta
Black construction paper
Black pen or sharpie
Liquid white-out
Scotch tape

Black Sesame Jelly

  1. In a small saucepan, sprinkle the powdered gelatin over 2 cups of water and let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
  2. Add the granulated sugar and heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve.
  3. Stir in the black sesame powder until fully incorporated, then remove from heat. Do not allow the black sesame mixture to come to a boil.
  4. Cool the black sesame mixture for 20 minutes at room temperature, then divide the mixture in half.
  5. Carefully pour the first half into your prepared pudding jars – the jars I used are similar to Paris Baguette’s royal pudding jars. Small glass cups would also work well. I divided the mixture evenly between 8 jars, you may end up with more or less depending on the size of the containers you use.
  6. If you splashed any of the black sesame mixture on the sides of the jars during the pouring process (highly recommend using a funnel or a pitcher of some sort), wipe clean with a damp paper towel. Use a toothpick to pop any large air bubbles formed while pouring, then refrigerate the jars for at least 60 minutes or until the jelly is set.
  7. The remaining black sesame mixture can be wrapped and stored at either room temperature or in the refrigerator until the final step.

Panna Cotta

  1. When the jelly is nearly set, begin working on the panna cotta. In a small bowl, sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the milk and let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream and granulated sugar and heat over medium heat. Allow to come to a boil, watching carefully (the cream will boil over if you are not careful).
  3. Stir in the milk and gelatin mixture and cook for another minute, stirring to completely dissolve the gelatin.
  4. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.
  5. Allow the hot panna cotta mixture to cool – 20-30 minutes. Your patience will be rewarded with a clean, white panda fur layer. If you are impatient like I was, you will end up with a more realistic, slightly dirty off-white panda fur layer because the hot panna cotta mixture will melt the top layer of your black sesame jelly.
  6. Once the panna cotta mixture has cooled a bit, carefully divide between your pudding jars, making sure to leave adequate room at the top of the jars for the final black sesame jelly layer. Clean the jars with a damp paper towel and pop air bubbles with a toothpick as needed. Depending on the size of your jars, you may have leftover panna cotta mixture. Simply pour into extra jars/cups and refrigerate. The resulting vanilla panna cotta can be enjoyed as is or topped with any manner of fruit or chocolate.
  7. Wrap or cover the jars and place back in the refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Panda Cotta

  1. Reheat the remaining black sesame mixture (it will have solidified) by warming in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. If the mixture is too hot after reheating, allow to cool to room temperature. Stir well to evenly redistribute the sesame powder.
  2. Top off each of your jars with a layer of black sesame jelly, cover, and return to the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes.
  3. Create the panda faces by cutting kidney bean-like shapes and rounded triangles out of black construction paper. Use liquid white-out and black pen/sharpie to draw in the eyes.
  4. Use small pieces of Scotch tape affixed to the back of your panda face shapes to attach them to your jars.
  5. Serve panda cotta to that special someone. I’m not promising you anything, but it might help move things along if you know what I’m saying.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. hannahelaine says:

    Yay you’re back! Laughed at the Mr. Orange mention. Always appreciate it when saints recognize his ineptitude


  2. hannahelaine says:

    and cute story!


  3. timeofalmonds says:

    Claire! These are so cute! You’re so creative!


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