NZ Woman's Weekly

Espresso & Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Pistachio Toffee

  • Meal Type

  • Servings

  • Courses

  • Meal Origin


These look impressive, but are easy to prepare – and can be made the day before.

The nutty toffee is a great contrast to the soft textures.

  • 1 cup hot espresso coffee or
  • 1 cup hot water with 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1½ tsp gelatine, plus
  • 2 tsp for gelatine cream
  • 1½ cup fresh cream
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 200g mascarpone


  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup pistachio nuts

1 Combine the coffee, sugar and gelatine and stir until dissolved. Pour into six small, individual serving moulds, or a plastic cup, and chill.

2 In a separate bowl, take half a cup of the cream and sprinkle it over the second measure of gelatine. Leave it to swell for 5 minutes.

3 Heat the remaining 1 cup of cream with the sugar and vanilla paste until near boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the softened gelatine until it is dissolved. Add the mascarpone and stir again until smooth. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

4 When coffee jellies are set, pour over the cool mascarpone cream and chill for a further 2 hours or overnight.

5 To remove, dip the base of each mould in hot water for 20-30 seconds and run a thin knife around the rim. Invert over the plate and gently prise one side with a knife – this will release the suction. Serve with pistachio toffee on the side.

6 For toffee: place the sugar in the centre of a medium-szied saucepan and gently pour the water around it. Set over a medium heat and allow to simmer rapidly, swirling the saucepan once or twice to mix the sugar. After about 10 minutes, the sugar caramelises.

7 When golden, add the nuts, then swirl around until deep golden in colour. Carefully pour out onto a tray lined with baking paper and tilt the tray carefully to make a thin sheet. Let it cool and harden, then snap into shards or crush into sprinkles.

*Use a heavy baking tray to make the toffee.

About Jo Wilcox

"I have had a love of food my whole life. Lucky for me my mum allowed me to play in the kitchen from the very beginning – from sitting up on the bench watch her peeling peaches for preserving or planning dinner parties from her many Womans Weekly Cookbooks. Starting in my local beach café, I went onto professional cookery training and my big foodie OE working as a professional chef and nanny. At 21 I launched my first restaurant. The following years saw me owning a gourmet cake and dessert shop and then a pasta deli before I discovered the world of food styling. Today I work in food styling making food look beautiful and tasty in packaging and advertising shoots, as well as my most important role yet – Food Editor of New Zealand Woman’s Weekly. I aim to provide great meal solutions that are interesting and approachable, and of course gorgeous foodie photos that make you want to cook them! I love the feedback and the knowledge that people actually cook them and have great results. If I can give someone a love of cooking and enjoying family meal times and gatherings then my job is done!" See

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Issue 1528

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