Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Crumble Panna Cotta is an autumn twist on a classic Italian dessert. Panna Cotta is not only an impressive dessert but also simple. It is naturally gluten-free, egg-free, and is set with gelatin. For the topping, apples are diced up and sauteed in some butter and brown sugar until tender. The final dessert then is garnished with some baked gluten free oatmeal streusel. An impressive dessert that is simple to make.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Gelatin: For this recipe, I use plain, unflavored powdered gelatin which is widely available at grocery stores in the US. It is usually found in the baking aisle. I have not tested this recipe with Gelatin Sheets or gelatin alternatives.
Cinnamon: In this recipe for Cinnamon Panna Cotta I use Ceylon Cinnamon Quills (Sticks). Those can be found in the spice selection of your grocery store. You can often find them at a very good price at International Grocery Stores such as Hispanic markets. I do not recommend using ground cinnamon instead of cinnamon sticks.
Apples: I use Honeycrisp apples in this recipe. They are crisp and juicy, with a honey-sweet and tart flavor. Other apple varieties that work great here are Gala, Fuji and Braeburns. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand as long as your apples are not bruised and on their way out (those apples should be used to make apple sauce)
Gluten Free Oats: I recommend using rolled oats in this recipe for Gluten Free Oatmeal Streusel. Quick Oats are rolled too thin and you will lose the texture of this cookie but in a pinch, feel free to use them.
VERY IMPORTANT REGARDING OATS: Please make sure to purchase certified gluten free oats if you have celiac or a wheat allergy. While oats are naturally gluten free they are often processed in the same facility as wheat or other gluten-containing grains. Personally, I buy my gluten free oats from Thrive Market, Bob’s Red Mill, or GF Harvest PureOats.
What is Panna Cotta?
Panna cotta, in Italian “Cooked cream”, has its roots in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, and, consists of cream, or a mixture of cream and milk, sugar, and gelatin. It is a very versatile dessert since you can change its flavoring to your liking with ingredients such as vanilla, espresso, fruit purées, or liqueurs. Many times this dessert is served unmolded but I always preferred serving it in glassware (This means you don't have to worry to unmold it perfectly).
Fun Fact: Panna Cotta was not mentioned in any cookbooks until the 1960's and its origin seems to be a mystery.
How to make the Brown Sugar Apple Topping
This Brown Sugar Apple Topping comes together in a pinch and cooks quickly. You can make this ahead up to 3 days which makes this dish a perfect Holiday dessert option. This Brown Sugar Apple Topping is also a fabulous ice cream topping or use it to top your favorite gluten free pancakes or waffles. You can always omit the liquor and use water instead. If you make this ahead, make sure to store it in your refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Step 1: Start by peeling your apples and dice them into small cubes. I like to cut them around 1cm dice (roughly ½ inch?). The apples will shrink a little bit while cooking.
Step 2: Combine your brown sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Step 3: Add butter to a clean, medium nonstick sautee pan and allow for the butter to melt. Add your diced apples and sautee them at low-medium heat until soft and they have some color to them (it's okay if they are lightly caramelized - caramelization means flavor - just don't burn them)
Step 4: Once your apples are tender (around, 5-10 minutes) add your brown sugar cornstarch mixture and stir to combine. Once the sugar has dissolved, add your vanilla, ground cinnamon, salt, and whiskey (if using). This may cause some bubbles in your pan so please be careful. Allow the mixture to simmer until slightly thickened.
Remove from the heat and allow for it to cool completely before topping your Panna Cotta with it.
How to make Oatmeal Streusel Topping
This Streusel Topping can be made up to 7 days ahead. I recommend storing it in an airtight container at room temperature or freezing it. This topping is delicious on ice cream, yogurt parfaits, or "as is".
Step 1: Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl, add butter, and with a fork or your hands crumble together until it resembles a streusel topping
Step 2: Spread out the Streusel on a parchment-lined sheet tray and refrigerate/freeze for 30 minutes. In the meantime preheat your oven to 350F and once fully preheated, bake your streusel for 10-14 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before using.
Optional: I like to stir my Streusel around halfway through baking but this is an optional step.
Store any leftovers of the cooked streusel in an airtight container or freeze them for future use.
FAQ for Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Crumble Panna Cotta
Why did my Panna Cotta not set?
It can take up to 4hrs or longer for a Panna Cotta to be fully set. It will be softer if you try to eat it before it is fully set.
Can I double this recipe for Apple Crumble Panna Cotta?
Yes! This recipe is very easy to double. This is the beauty of recipes in grams.
Can I make this cinnamon panna cotta with milk alternatives?
While I have not tested this recipe with non dairy products such as almond milk or coconut milk, it is possible to make a dairy free panna cotta. I recommend using equal parts of Almond Milk and Coconut milk. Please be aware that the panna cotta might set softer. As for the crumble and the apple topping, please use your favorite non dairy butter alternative (I do not recommend using coconut oil)
I don't like/I am allergic to cinnamon!
If cinnamon is not your thing, I recommend using a vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste instead of the cinnamon stick to flavor your gluten free panna cotta.
Can I make this ahead of time?'
Yes, you can make this Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Crumble Panna Cotta up to 5 days ahead. Make sure to wrap the jars tightly so they don't take on any "taste" of other products in your fridge.
Can I make the crumble without oats?
For an oat free crumble option please use the Crumble recipe from my Gluten Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins.
Baking in grams
I share my recipes in grams and by weight since baking by weight is the most accurate way to bake. Digital Scales are very affordable and very affordable. You can purchase them on Amazon for less than a set of measuring cups. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can cause significant errors when it comes to gluten-free baking or baking in general. Especially since I bake with gluten-free flours which weigh differently than “regular” flours. I do provide some ingredients like spices and leavening agents in measuring spoons. To learn more about Baking with a digital scale, make sure to check out my post about Baking by weight.
Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
All my recipes are tested and developed with a conventional oven. I always bake my baked goods on the rack placed in the MIDDLE of my oven. This way the heat coming from the bottom will not burn my baked goods.
If you are baking with convection (fan-forced), please adjust the recipes accordingly. Be also prepared that the convection oven can cause your baked goods to dry out quickly and still be raw inside. Be aware that it takes at least 15-20 minutes for a standard American Oven to be fully preheated. I highly recommend investing in an Oven Thermometer.
Substitutions and Modifications
Any dietary or ingredient modifications/substitutions to this recipe may alter the end result in appearance and taste. I test my recipes several times as published in this post and The Gluten Free Austrian Blog is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you find on our website.
Cinnamon Panna Cotta
- 275 grams full fat heavy cream
- 200 grams whole milk
- 55 grams granulated white sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 50 grams whole milk
- 7 grams unflavored gelatin
- 65 grams light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 25 grams unsalted butter
- 250-300 grams peeled and diced apples (I used 2 medium sized apples)
- 1 Tablespoon Gluten Free Whiskey (or water)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg (or a few grates of fresh grated nutmeg)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Oatmeal Streusel Topping
- 100 grams gluten free multipurpose flour
- 100 grams light brown sugar
- 40 grams gluten free oats
- 45 grams butter, cold, cut in smaller pieces
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
To make the Cinnamon Base
- In a medium-sized pot, combine heavy cream and milk and carefully bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the cinnamon sticks and cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to steep for one hour.
- Around 45 minutes into the steeping, make your Gelatin Mixture. Place the 50 grams of whole milk in a small bowl and with a fork whisk in the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to bloom for 10 minutes.
- Prepare 4 clean glasses for your panna cotta.
- After around one hour. rewarm your cinnamon-infused cream milk mixture to a gentle simmer. Whisk in the granulated white sugar, vanilla, and salt. Turn off the heat and add the bloomed gelatin and give it a good whisk.
- Use a meshed strainer strain and strain into a pitcher. You want to make sure you removed all the cinnamon sticks. Be careful, the liquid will be hot
- Divide the panna cotta between the 4 glasses. Each portion should be around 125 ml. Carefully transfer to your refrigerator and allow to set (around 4hrs and up to 5 days)
- Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add your small diced apples and sauté until they are almost tender (this will take around 5-10 minutes)
- .Add your brown sugar mixture and stir until sugar dissolves.
- Add the vanilla, ground cinnamon, salt, and whiskey (if using). This may cause some bubbles in your pan so please be careful. Allow the mixture to simmer until slightly thickened.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
Oatmeal Streusel Topping
- Combine dry ingredients and raw almonds in a small bowl, add the cold, small cut butter, and with a fork or your hands crumble together until it resembles a streusel topping.
- Spread out the Streusel on a parchment-lined sheet tray and refrigerate/freeze for 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350F and once fully preheated, bake your streusel for 10-14 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool completely before using.
Assamble to Panna Cotta
Once your Panna Cotta is fully set and you are ready to serve your dessert, divide the Apple topping evenly between the four glasses and top with streusel (use as much or as little you would like)