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Pear Panna Cotta Cake on a clear cake stand

Pear Panna Cotta Cake

For this spin on my granny's dessert I combined Swedish Cream with a poached pear puree and then topped it with a layer of poached pear jelly and put it on a base of almond joconde sponge cake. It takes a bit of time but is really quite easy to make!


Almond Sponge Cake (Joconde)

  • 40 g almond meal
  • 10 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • 30 g sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 10 g sugar

Poached Pear Panna Cotta

  • 12 g gelatin
  • 1/4 cup (60g) cold water
  • 1 3/4 cups (400g) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups (600g) pear puree poach the pears as instructed here, then puree without the liquid. The color will vary depending on how long you poached the pears.
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar

Sour Cream Panna Cotta

  • 3 g gelatin
  • 20 g cold water
  • 135 g heavy whipping cream
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean seeds scraped
  • 200 g sour cream  or creme fraiche

Poached Pear Jelly

  • 1 1/2 cups (350ml) Pear Poaching Liquid strained
  • 10 g gelatin
  • 50 g cold water



  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a buttered 8-inch round cake pan with buttered parchment.
  • Sift together the almond meal and flour, set aside.
  • Whip the egg and 30g sugar with a hand held mixer on high speed until they are at the ribbon stage. Gently fold in the almond and flour mixture. Whip the egg white and 10g sugar until stiff peaks. Gently fold them into the almond batter.
  • Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for about 10 minutes or until set and just golden on top. Allow to cool while you make the filling. When ready to assemble, slip the baked cake layer on a cardboard round into an 8-inch springform pan to use as a mold. Line the sides with either parchment or acetate. Acetate is way easier to deal with.

Poached Pear Panna Cotta

  • Bloom the gelatin in the water.
  • In a pan bring 1/2 the puree and sugar to a simmer. Add the gelatin and stir until it is melted. Stir in remaining puree. Strain the mixture. Chill over an ice bath until it just starts to thicken. 
  • Once the pear puree is room temperature, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold it into the slightly thickened pear mixture. Pour it over the cake layer and tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Refrigerate for at least an hour before adding the next layer.

Sour Cream Panna Cotta ("Swedish Cream")

  • Bloom the gelatin in the water.
  • In a pan, bring the cream, sugar and vanilla seeds to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the bloomed gelatin. Gently whisk until the gelatin is melted. Stir in the sour cream and strain into a bowl, set over an ice bath. Allow to chill until it just starts to thicken, then pour over the set pear layer of the cake. 

Poached Pear Jelly

  • Bloom the gelatin in the water.
  • Heat 1/2 the poaching liquid in a pan to a simmer. Add bloomed gelatin and stir until dissolved. Strain mixture and add remaining poaching liquid.
  • Let the pear jelly cool to room temperature, then pour over set "Swedish Cream." Gently tap and shimmy to get rid of bubbles. Refrigerate for several hours and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. A hot knife blade run around the acetate helps keep the edge clean. Transfer to a serving plate and decorate the edge with the dried pears just before serving.

Sliced Pear Garnish

  • Use a Mandoline to get a paper thin slice of pear. Set on a Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat and put in a 150°F oven until they are dry, this can take several hours, depending on how thick the slices are. If it is humid, they will not stay crisp.
  • The cake should be set enough to cut into clean slices, best done with a thin knife dipped into hot water. The slice should wobble and not stand up perfectly straight, which means it won’t have a rubbery texture. 


The Poached Pear Panna Cotta was inspired by The Pastry Chef’s Little Black Book by Michael Zebrowski and Michael Mignano.
Watch me make this in my Instagram Story Highlight!