Editor’s note: Sadie Davis-Suskind, 14, is an incoming freshman at Lakeside High School and an aspiring chef. A former “MasterChef Junior” competitor, Davis-Suskind will share a recipe each week that other young people can make as well.

Why do I spend the majority of the year anxiously awaiting summertime? That’s when the summer desserts arrive, of course. 

It isn’t that the decadent and rich desserts of fall and winter fail to satisfy my sweet tooth. It’s because there are so many exquisite treats that you can serve in the summertime that are both delicious, satisfying, palate-cleansing and oh-so-easy to prepare. 

One of my favorites of these is panna cotta, which originally hails from the Piemonte region of Italy. My mom first served it to me when I was young enough to have to have her help to spoon it into my mouth, but old enough to sneak into the kitchen and polish off another ramekin of the silky, creamy, milky, rich dessert that was meant for the other guests at our table (sorry not sorry). 

I like to top off the smooth texture with a zing of fresh berry flavor. I hope this becomes a favorite in your home as well.   


Small saucepan

Large saucepan

6 ramekins


1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (1 envelope)

2 tablespoons cold water

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup half-and-half


⅓ cup sugar

1½ teaspoon vanilla


1) Lightly grease your ramekins.

2) “Bloom” the gelatin: In your saucepan, sprinkle gelatin evenly over the water and let it soften for about 1 minute. Over low heat, gently stir your mixture until all the gelatin is dissolved. Set pan aside.

3) Pour your cream, the half-and-half and sugar into a large saucepan on high heat and bring the mixture just to a boil while stirring vigorously. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in your gelatin mixture as well as your vanilla.

4) Pour this creamy mixture evenly into your lightly greased ramekins and allow them to come to room temperature.

5) Place your ramekins into the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

6) Serve your panna cotta: Place your ramekins, one by one, into a bowl of hot water for about 4 seconds to loosen them, making sure not to get any water into the ramekin. Take a knife and run it around the edge of each ramekin. Invert over a small plate and shake gently to help the panna cotta fall out. Top with the fruit, syrup or berries of your choice and a mint sprig or two!