Perfect honey, rosewater panna cotta

Honey, rosewater & cinnamon panna cotta recipe

This honey, rosewater panna cotta recipe is one of the most delicious I’ve ever tasted. It comes from Ilse van der Merwe and her stunning new cookbook called Cape Mediterranean. It has a delectable silky texture with a very slight cinnamon note and a strong hit of exotic rosewater. Reminiscent of Turkish delight, this is the perfect dessert to make in advance and serve in summer. It is definitely one that will impress.

Honey, rosewater & cinnamon panna cotta recipe

I tasted this along with about 14 other dishes from the book at Ilse’s launch a little while ago. Everything was totally delicious and made me want to dive right into the kitchen immediately. She has taken a collection of her favourite recipes that are strongly Mediterranean-inspired but use local ingredients and packed them between the pages of this wonderful book.

Since the climate in the Western Cape is a Mediterranean one, the whole premise of the book makes total sense. This is definitely the book you will want to whip out when you invite friends over to enjoy a relaxed and convivial meal on a lazy weekend day.

The photography in this book is absolutely brilliant and shot by the ultra-talented food photographer Tasha Seccombe. It can proudly take up residence on your coffee table as much as it can in your kitchen.

The opening chapter is on loaves, flatbreads, and pizza, so you could say Ilse had me at bread. It then moves into dips, spreads, and pates and we all know how I feel about drizzling and dipping. The third chapter focuses on tapas, terrines, and pates, and having tried a number of these dishes, it’s a goodie. I have earmarked the country-style pork & port terrine with pistachios for this coming Christmas.

Honey, rosewater & cinnamon panna cotta recipe

Then follows soups, chowders, and stews which will happily see you through a wet rainy Cape winter although the Cape seafood Bouillabaisse will be one you want to eat in summer too. Chapter 5 is all about salads, vegetables, and legumes and I would 100% be making every single one of these. Chapter 6 is probably my favourite as it’s carb heaven central with pasta, potato, and rice dishes. Think butternut gnocchi with Gorgonzola cream sauce and Greek-style youvetsi with Karoo lamb, lemon, and origanum. This recipe is the one I want to make the most of in the book. Ilse then has a chapter on grills, roasts, and braises followed by her final delicious chapter on desserts.

I honestly want to cook and eat this entire book.

Honey, rosewater & cinnamon panna cotta recipe

I have known Ilse for a long time as we have both been blogging for what seems like eons and I know she is an exceptionally talented cook with wide experience as a professional in this field. Her debut cookbook is a delight and a triumph as well as a celebration of local and sustainable ingredients.

Honey & rose water panna cotta

Ilse says if you don’t like rosewater you can just as easily leave it out. She garnished it with a scattering of chopped-up Crunchie bars and fresh raspberries and these worked so unbelievably well together along with a light drizzle of honey over the top of the panna cotta. You could just use any berries if you prefer.

Cape Mediterranean: The way we love to eat but Ilse van der Merwe

Cape Mediterranean is published by Penguin Random House and is available at all good bookshops in South Africa.

Honey, rosewater & cinnamon panna cotta recipe

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Honey, rosewater and cinnamon panna cotta

A delicious and easy panna cotta recipe with rosewater and cinnamon
Print Recipe
Honey, rosewater & cinnamon panna cotta recipe
Prep Time:15 minutes


  • 500 ml cream
  • 10 ml 2 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 60 ml 1/4 cup sugar
  • 10 ml 2 teaspoons rose water
  • 20 ml 4 tsp honey, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Fresh raspberries any berry & chopped crunchie to serve (optional)


  • Lightly spray 4 small ramekins or serving glasses with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Pour 45ml (3 tablespoons) of the cream into a cup with the powdered gelatin. Leave the mixture for 10 minutes to sponge (bloom).
  • In the meantime heat the rest of the cream, sugar honey, cinnamon stick, and rosewater into a small pot on the stove. Stir until the sugar has melted (do not boil).
  • Add the sponged gelatin mixture and stir gently to dissolve. Remove from the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and pour the liquid into a jug. Measure this out between the 4 ramekins or glasses. Refrigerate until set (about an hour).
  • Serve with a light drizzle of honey over the surface and garnish with the chopped crunchie chocolate and fresh raspberries.


These desserts can be made in advance, covered and stored in the fridge. Top with the honey, raspberries and crunchies just before serving.
Author: Sam Linsell

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  1. Lee Shelly says:

    Hi Sam, it doesnt say how much Rose water, is it the essence that you use?

  2. Hi Lee, sorry I left that off. Its 2 teaspoons and it goes in with all the other ingredients in the pot. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Lee Shelly says:

    Thanks SAm and is that just the essence that you get in the little bottle?

  4. Hi Lee it is just known as rosewater, not essence and you can buy a bottle at specialist baking shops, I have seen it in Woolies in the baking section and other specialty food shops (it’s middle eastern).

  5. this is so beautiful, and sounds stunning. I’m off to see if the book is available on the U.S. Amazon. Next August, 2020, my husband and I will be traveling throughout South Africa, a first for us, and I’m so excited!

  6. That’s so exciting that you are coming to South Africa Mimi – you must get in touch wehn you are planning your time in Cape Town.

  7. Jean Dedekind says:

    Can these pannacotta be turned out of their moulds? Will they hold their shape?

  8. Hi Jean Im sure they can but I love to eat them out the glass as I think it looks best this way

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