Christmas Kitchen: Eggnog Panna Cotta with Boozy Cherries

This post was created in collaboration with Opies. Today I want to introduce you to my festive dessert secret weapon I’d probably have kept to myself if the brand who makes them had not got in touch to ask if I wanted to create a couple of festive recipes: Opies Black Cherries with Kirsch, which here I use to add the perfect special touch to an otherwise plain (but still rich, creamy and delicious) Eggnog Panna Cotta.

The concept of drinking eggnog has always weirded me out somewhat (though, if you’re interested Time Travel Kitchen has written a great piece on it) but the flavours of vanilla, nutmeg and rum infused in a rich set cream? Count me in!

These easy panna cotta are fantastic for making ahead, ready to just be pulled out the fridge to take the chill off them a little while you’re eating, before spooning the delicious, boozy cherries and a little of their juice on top of each with a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg – the perfect recipe for festive entertaining!

And what to do with the rest of the jar? Well, to be honest I always keep some to hand to enjoy as a quick dessert served over a little ice cream – vanilla is always good, but they go especially well with my Brown Sugar & Grand Marnier Ice Cream for the ultimate last minute festive treat. You can find them in Waitrose and Tescos – oh, and did I also mention that any leftover liquor from the jar makes a great, fruity addition to a gin and tonic?

While I admit that I’m yet to try them, Opies also kindly sent me some of their Pineapple with Luxardo Spiced Rum, and Baby Pears with Luxardo Amaretto, which I can’t wait to dig into as they both look and sound delicious, again served over ice cream, in drinks, and I think if pears are more your thing than cherries, they would go great with these panna cotta too – you could even stray away from the traditional flavours of eggnog and use a little liquor from the jar or some of my Homemade Amaretto in the recipe in place of the rum!

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Eggnog Panna Cotta with Boozy Cherries

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Dessert


These easy Eggnog Panna Cotta – topped with boozy cherries soaked in Kirsch – are really quick to prepare, the ultimate make-ahead dessert for a Christmas dinner or gathering! 


  • 3 sheets gelatin (I use Costa)
  • 130ml (1/2 cup) semi skimmed milk
  • 150g (5 1/4 oz) golden caster (granulated) sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 400ml (1 1/2 cups) double (heavy) cream
  • 4 tbsp golden or dark rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • Opies Black Cherries in Kirsch 


  1. Soak the gelatine in a small bowl of cold water. Set aside.
  2. Combine the milk, sugar and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan, and set over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, and bring to the boil. Then reduce to low, and allow the cinnamon stick to infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cream, rum and the vanilla, and turn up the heat to bring to the boil once more. Then, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  4. Squeeze any excess water out of the gelatine sheets and stir them, one by one until dissolved into the cream mixture. Run the mixture into a jug through a sieve, and divide between four glass serving bowls. Chill in the fridge until set: this should take at least 4 hours.
  5. Sprinkle each with a little freshly grated nutmeg, and spoon 4-5 cherries and a little of their juice over each dish, and serve immediately.