Limoncello Panna Cotta with Burnt Lemon Syrup (gelatine-free recipe)

Enjoy this refreshing summer dessert. Limoncello works beautifully in desserts, creating a bright, summery citrus flavour.

Limoncello is a sweet Italian liqueur with fresh lemon, citrus flavour that is well balanced between sweetness and alcohol.

Panna cotta, a molded chilled dessert popular throughout Italy, is easy to make and can be prepared in advance. I like to prepare it in the big mold and serve as cake on the dish, garnished with burned Meyer lemon slices and drizzled with limoncello syrup. Delicious!

You could also use this syrup to infuse citrus cake or lavender cake. Lemon and lavender are a match made in heaven.

I use agar instead of gelatine in my recipe. I learned about the agar-agar when I lived in Asia. You will never meet the gelatin in the Indonesian traditional cuisine, only agar. Properties agar significantly different from gelatin. But if you know the rules of use, you will get a great result.
For my vegan friends and people with lactose intolerance: just switch milk and cream for good quality coconut milk. Works great.


  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml double cream

or 250 ml coconut milk for a vegan version

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon agar-agar powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 2 Tbsp limoncello
  • 1 vanilla bean (I use Tahitian vanilla)

For sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp limoncello
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • Meyer lemon slices

+ lemon balm leaves or lavender flowers to garnish


  1. Use a sharp knife to open vanilla pod and remove all the contents that are small black, oily seeds.
  2. In a saucepan pour milk, add syrup, agar-agar, vanilla pod, and vanilla seeds. Bring to a boil, gently simmer for 5 minutes, mixing occasionally using the whisk.
  3. Remove from heat, add double cream and limoncello, mix well. Strain the mixture using a sieve. Pour in the forms and send in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Cut Meyer lemon into thin slices and burn using a blow torch (very hot cast iron pan will work too).
  5. For limoncello syrup combine 3 tablespoons limoncello with 2 tablespoons of brown rice in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer until thickened (you will see small bubbles). Remove from heat, add burned lemon slices and infuse until chilled.
  6. Remove Panna Cotta from the refrigerator, top with sauce. Garnish with lemon slices and lavender flowers. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


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