The Seasoned Traveler

Recipes and remedies using herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients from the world's pantry

Rose, Berry & Pomegranate Panna Cotta



I made this little dessert as an ode to moms, but specifically my mom. I wanted it to have a touch of rose, for the bountiful gardens she tends. It had to be multi-layered, for the way she has constantly re-invented herself through the years, from a young wife supporting her husband through graduate school, to a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, a successful business owner, a teacher, and a community leader. It would need a variety of toppings, for she’s worn many hats throughout motherhood, as maker of our home, nurturer, provider and role model. It had to be something solid but with a rounded softness and lots of give, for the many ways my sisters and I have depended on her and the countless ways she is giving to everyone around her. I wanted this little dessert to be lots of things to capture the essence of my mom, but after all this, I think it’s easier for me to just tell you about her.

My mom has a gift with small creatures, whether they’re the blooming flowers in her gardens or the troubled kids she works with through her church, the many strays she has adopted or one of her granddaughters bundled in her arms. In her care, through her calming voice and artful flair, they thrive. One of my most revelatory moments with my mom was on a long-distance phone call with her just hours after I became a mother myself. Exhausted from two days of labor, sore from surgery, homesick in a foreign country and frightened for my fragile, premature baby in the NICU one floor above me in the hospital, I cried to my mom though my mixture of emotions. I think the gist of it was that I felt overwhelmed and unprepared and unsure what to do for my baby. She listened, then told me, “Leave all of that behind when you’re with her. Feel love and only love. She’ll feel that too; it’s what she needs from you. Love and only love.” Her words rang true, it’s what I tried to do, and still do, with my daughter in times of need. I stop, leave all else behind, and with every cell of my being, I try to exude pure love.

There was a time when I was a kid, the summer before second grade, I think, when I went to a summer day camp and had to take a bus there and back every day. My mom had enlisted the help of a big third-grader to make sure I got off at the right bus stop at a little bank in our town, where my mom would be waiting in the afternoons to drive us home. One day, I’m not sure what happened, but I must have been spacing out and I completely missed my stop. I have a vague recollection of seeing my third-grader friend descending the bus stairs and hearing the swoosh of the doors closing and catching a glimpse of the bank clock as the one city block I knew flashed by me. Instead of speaking up or getting up, I sank lower in my seat as one by one the other kids exited and the bus got emptier. Oh, I was so shy! As we roared through city after city, a feeling of doom settled in me; I had visions of being stuck in a cold, dark, empty bus for the rest of my days. But after the bus pulled into the enormous terminal and the bus driver stepped off, I heard my mom’s voice. I flew down the aisle and out the door, past the bewildered driver and into my mom’s arms. I now wonder what she must have been feeling the whole frantic ride there as she tailed the bus and tried to flag him down – for she had figured out exactly what had happened – but in that moment there were no questions, no lectures, not a hint of exasperation, not even a good-natured teasing, just love.

There’s so much I could tell you about my mom, but I think these two memories capture what I’m getting at here, the most important thing: Love and only love. I felt it, Mom, and it was just what I needed.

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!


Rose, Berry & Pomegranate Panna Cotta

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

This dessert has three layers: a gelée of pomegranate syrup + fresh raspberries + rosewater, then a simple strawberry yogurt gelée beneath it; the base is a classic creamy and soft panna cotta. It’s all topped with fresh berries and mint sprigs.

Pomegranate, Raspberry & Rose Gelée:

  • 5 fresh raspberries
  • 2 Tbs. pomegranate syrup
  • 1 Tbs. sparkling water
  • 2-3 drops rosewater
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch

Strawberry Yogurt Gelée

  • 1/4 cup good-quality natural strawberry yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

Panna Cotta

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 g. (.07 oz.) gelatin powder
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. light brown muscovado sugar


  1. Lightly butter or grease two glasses or ramekins (I used coconut oil on two glasses). Make the pomegranate, raspberry & rose gelée first: In a small saucepan, macerate the raspberries until they are broken into small pieces. Mix in the pomegranate syrup, water and rosewater and heat slowly over low heat. Just as it comes to a boil, lift the pan off the heat with one hand and with the other add the cornstarch and stir rapidly. As it becomes incorporated and smooth, return to heat and continue stirring vigorously as it thickens (do not let it burn or overboil). Remove from heat, let cool, then pour into the glasses, dividing evenly between the two. Let the glasses chill for at least half an hour.
  2. Make the middle layer of strawberry yogurt gelée. Use the same (cleaned) saucepan and the same technique, warming the yogurt and adding the constarch and stirring vigorously as it thickens. Once cooled, pour it into the glasses, dividing evenly and return to the fridge to chill for at least a half hour more.
  3. Make the panna cotta layer: First pour the gelatin powder into the milk in the (clean and cooled) saucepan and let sit until the granules have swelled, about 3 minutes. Then add the cream and sugar and stir while you heat it up and bring it close to a simmer. Stir continuously but watch the heat to make sure it doesn’t come to a boil. When the sugar & gelatin have dissolved and it thickens slightly, remove from heat and let cool. Pour this last layer into the glasses, dividing evenly, and return to the fridge to chill for 3 hours (or overnight).
  4. When ready to serve, dip the glasses into a bowl of warm water and hold them there for about 1 minute. Run a knife around the edges if necessary to break the suction, tip gently over serving plates, and let them plop out. Or, serve as is, in their glasses/ramekins. Garnish with fresh berries and mint.


Author: Laura Haugen

Writer, Traveler, Foodie

61 thoughts on “Rose, Berry & Pomegranate Panna Cotta

  1. A wonderful post Laura. You are blessed with a dear mother and I love how you described the panna cotta as an ode to your mom. What a lovely metaphor. I have yet to make panna cotta. Your post and recipe is very inspiring!

    • Thanks, Seana. I truly am blessed! Panna cotta is one of my favorites and is quite easy; hope you try it! Thanks for getting my attempt at a metaphor – the panna cotta was quite easy to make, but writing about my mom and her love – that took a lot of effort & emotion, so I appreciate your lovely response.

  2. Oh Laura, this is just so wonderful I can’t even tell you. It sounds and looks delicious. I have had Panna Cotta on the brain and then yesterday I saw on my reader a recipe for rhubarb ginger panna cotta on Sophie Food Files. I’ve never made panna cotta but just bought some gelatin and cream to give it a go. Funny, my mom is a panna cotta fan big time even though she rarely eats other desserts. Sweet post here!

  3. It looks sooo pretty! I’ve only made panna cotta with raspberries but this looks much better! 🙂

    I’m always surprised how easy panna cotta is and how delicious!!

  4. Beautiful, beautiful post, Laura. You’re such a lovely story-teller…you left me smiling, yet quite weepy too!
    The panna cotta is almost as lovely as you story. 😉 Seriously, it looks delicious, the pomegranate syrup and rose water must add such wonderful flavors.

  5. Beautiful Panna Cotta and beautiful memories! This post remained me about my phone call with my mum after my first son was born, made me cry reading this in the kitchen! Happy Mother’s day weekend, Laura.

  6. I don’t know where to begin. The panna cotta, of course, is perfection by itself, and will be tried, I can assure you. I still have my bottle of rosewater. But the story, the whole post, is the absolute perfect post for Mother’s Day! You have so lovingly introduced your mother to us, in a way that only a daughter can. A daughter who’s been shown the meaning of “love, only love.” How wonderful and touching, and so utterly perfect! ❤

  7. I do hope your mama reads your blog … but then, why wouldn’t she ?! 🙂

  8. Your dessert and story are a beautiful ode to a very wise mother.

  9. What a beautiful story, Laura. Brought tears to my eyes. ❤

    • Thanks, Patty. I guess I should have brought some tissues to the fiesta 😉 I seem to have made everyone weepy. I hope it brings back special & happy memories with moms for everyone this weekend ❤

  10. What a beautiful ode to your mom – and a lovely berry panna cotta! Happy Mother’s Day!

  11. This is such a beautiful post, Laura!! It brought tears to my heart as I am missing my Mom, who is now in heaven. We could not tell specific words or limited stories just to describe our Mom. There are so much more to tell, so much memories to share. I am happy with the relationship you have with your Mom. Please hug her for me and tell her Happy Mother’s Day!

    This dessert, btw, is a perfect treat for Mother’s Day and for FF15. ❤

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  13. What a wonderful, beautiful, heart warming tribute to your mum, and to mothers everywhere, thank you for a beautiful dessert and more beautiful stories Laura!

  14. OH MY, how beautiful and delicious. Your photo’s just pop out and I can almost taste it.

  15. Laura- What a wonderful blog post about your mom! She sounds wonderful, and she obviously has been such an encouragement in your life! And your pomegranate panna cotta looks wonderful!

  16. This is so beautiful.
    And so is your post.
    What a wonderful mum,
    and a special, lovely memory to treasure.
    Emma 🙂

  17. Lovely recipe Laura and an even lovelier post! Thanks for sharing these lovely stories…moms are the best aren’t they? Happy Mother’s day to you too!

  18. Your writing brought tears to my eyes, the narration is very moving! The panna cotta is a great tribute to go along with it. 🙂

  19. Such great flavours, Laura! And what a beautiful write up. 🙂 Moms deserve this, don’t they?

  20. Oh Laura – what a beautiful, beautiful ode to your mother – she sounds like such a wise and special person. I have teared up reading your stories about your newborn and also that bus journey. Thank you for sharing such a special lady with us. Your stunning panna cottas are perfect – they are going down a storm at the party…

  21. What lovely words to go with such a lovely look dessert. Mums are definitely the best of them all!

  22. I came for the panna cotta and I left in tears. Amazing story, delicious food, good message. Glad I found your blog!

  23. You have brought me to tears – your words are so moving. Thanks so much for making us stop for a moment and really think about our moms. Such a beautiful post!

  24. Laura, I’ve just made some vanilla bean panna cottas for dessert tonight and I’m now regretting not mingling earlier with the FF crowd as the addition of rose and pomegranate sounds like perfection! I’ll be trying this one next time! What a lovely post. Thanks, Margot

  25. Laura, this is such a beautiful tribute to your mom. She sounds like a wonderful woman and it warms my heart to read about your happy memories with her. I wish you and her a very Happy Mother’s Day. The panna cotta looks amazing, too!

  26. I have a feeling i would make a mess if attempting ot make this i would certainly eat it though 🙂

  27. A lovely Mothers day post Laura! Moms are the best and you are blessed with an amazing one 🙂 Love the flavors you chose for this panna cotta!

  28. This is a wonderful post for Mother’s Day – letting your mom know how much she means to you by showing her your post. My Mom has been gone for a number of years and I wish I could share more memories with her. Lovely dessert too 🙂

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  30. Thank you for such a delicious tribute to your mom. You are a beautiful writer. And I am guessing a marvelous cook (and a terrific photographer!). It is so nice to meet your through Fiesta Friday. That dish looks amazing.

  31. I have always wanted to make panna cotta. Yours looks lovely and very special since it is for mom.
    I love your pictures, recipes and stories. Glad to have met you!

  32. Beautiful story and beautiful dessert. Thanks for sharing your touching story and yummy recipe.

  33. Pingback: Strawberry & Rhubarb Roundup | The Seasoned Traveler

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