Lemon Panna Cotta (Egg-Free Custard) with Bourbon Sauce (Gluten-Free)

Lemon panna cotta is an Italian, egg-free custard. Panna cotta can be made in several different flavors with an array of sauces. It is often served with biscotti, an Italian biscuit-cookie. You will find this particular recipe to include your choice of plain bourbon sauce or walnut bourbon sauce. I’ve included the recipe for the garnish, candied lemon peel, as well. I hope you enjoy this recipe. It appears to be a lot of work, but if you use plain lemon peel for garnish, it’s done in a snap. I love recipes that create a beautiful presentation, yet are very little work! Enjoy.

Lemon Panna Cotta (Egg-Free Custard) with Bourbon Sauce (Gluten-Free)

Yield: Serves 6.

Lemon Panna Cotta (Egg-Free Custard) with Bourbon Sauce (Gluten-Free)

Lemon panna cotta (an Italian, egg-free custard) with bourbon or bourbon walnut sauce and garnished with candied lemon peel. All recipes included are naturally gluten-free.


    For the Lemon Panna Cotta
  • Cooking oil or gluten free spray oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 lemon , zested and cut into thick strips
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
  • For the Bourbon Walnut Sauce:
  • 2/3 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3 Tablespoons golden raisins (or 3 mejdool dates for a darker sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (optional)
  • For the Garnish
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water


    To Make the Panne Cotta:
  1. Lightly oil six 6 oz. ramekins; set aside.
  2. Mix gelatin and approximately 3 tablespoon of the milk in a small bowl; set aside to bloom (gel).
  3. Add remaining milk to a medium sized saucepan; scald do not boil; remove from heat; add gelatin mixture, whisk together well; return to heat; whisk in heavy cream; add the the lemon juice and sugar; bring back to a close boil; and remove from heat.
  4. Pour this mixture into a 4 cup measuring cup or something similar with a spout. If you have curdled the milk strain it into the cup first.
  5. Divide the mixture equally among the ramekins. Place in the refrigerator to cool and set completely.
  6. To Make the Bourbon Sauce:
  7. Toast the walnuts by baking in a single layer on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 375°F until fragrant, 5 - 10 minutes; set aside.
  8. In a small saucepan add honey, bourbon, raisins, and lemon juice; cook over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken; remove from heat; add vanilla and walnuts; stir; set aside to allow to cool before adding to the top of each panna cotta. You may serve the sauce with the raisins or remove them.
  9. To Make the Candied Lemon Peel Garnish:
  10. See Candied Citrus Peel Recipe on How Stuff Works.
  11. Right before serving, turn the ramekins upside down onto dessert plates; top with bourbon sauce and candied lemon peel or your desired garnish.

To make homemade biscotti see my Gluten Free Biscotti Recipe.

Browse more desserts in the Gluten Free Dessert Recipes category; or view over 225 dessert recipes by photos and title, all on one page at Gluten Free Desserts.

6 Replies to “Lemon Panna Cotta (Egg-Free Custard) with Bourbon Sauce (Gluten-Free)”

    1. Thanks for sharing the link, Susan.

      I’m aware of the bourbon debate, however, very few people react to it, as the distilling process is extremely thorough, filtering out all gluten. Those who react to boubon often react to wine and other alcohols.


      1. Thanks for the information! I appreciate that you have thoroughly checked this out. So many gluten free sites are just “fads” these days! Does this hold true for whiskey ( have some recipes that call for Jack Daniels)???

        1. Susan,

          Yes. It applies to all distilled alcohol. There are a few people with gluten intolerance who react to alcohol that is derived from gluten grains, but most do not.

          For further documentation read this article, “Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?” by Megan Tichy, Ph.D.: http://www.celiac.com/articles/21886/1/Distilled-Spirits-Grain-Alcohols-and-Vinegar-Are-they-Gluten-Free/Page1.html .

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