Buttermilk panna cotta with vanilla poached figs is a delicious new twist on a classic summer pudding, perfect for a balmy summer evening

Buttermilk panna cotta with vanilla poached figs is the perfect combination of zest and sweetness for a tantalising summer treat. Philipa Davis’ recipe is both decadent and refreshing, and the perfect final flourish to your summer supper party to impress you guests.

For another creamy desert why not try Strawberry, cardamom, elderflower and lime sherbet. Incredibly popular across the pond, sherbet is creamier than sorbet but easier to make than ice cream.


The tang of buttermilk contrasts with the sweetness of the figs to make this dessert a deliciously classy end to a summer feast.

Serves 4

For the panna cottas

  • 3 gelatine leaves
  • 100ml cream
  • 100ml milk
  • Vanilla pod, spilt lengthways
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 284ml buttermilk

For the figs

  • 500ml Muscat or other sweet white wine
  • 8 ripe figs
  • 4 tbsp demerara sugar

Soak the gelatine in a dish of cold water for a couple of minutes until soft.

In a pan, heat the cream and milk with the vanilla pod and sugar until it comes to a simmer, then remove from the heat.

Squeeze the water from the gelatine and stir into the hot milk mixture. Mix in the buttermilk.
Strain everything into a jug through a sieve (keeping the vanilla pod) and pour into four ramekins.  Leave in the fridge to set (about three hours).

Meanwhile, lightly rinse the vanilla pod and add to a small pan with the wine, figs and demerara. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the figs feel just cooked. Leave to cool in syrup.

To serve, loosen the panna cotta by sitting the ramekins in just boiled water for about 10 seconds then turn out onto a plate. Give two figs each and spoon over a little of the syrup.  For decoration, I like to add thinly cut fans of vanilla pod.