Sour Cream Panna Cotta and Rhubarb Compote

Also known as Russian cream, this tangy panna cotta is made with sour cream and so easy to throw together before a big summer dinner party.

Sour Cream Panna Cotta and Rhubarb Compote

The first time I had Russian Cream was almost four years ago. Reuben’s aunt had a celebration for all the years she had spent working as a cook at a Russian camp, and we were invited! Lucky us. I can’t recall many details of the menu (it was delicious!), but the dessert was certainly memorable.

We were served what I assumed was panna cotta. But when I tasted it, there was a faint hint of tanginess, almost like cheesecake. It was topped with raspberries, which complemented the slightly sour dish perfectly. Fabulous.

Sour Cream Panna Cotta and Rhubarb Compote

So I copied down a recipe that I had saved up for quite some time, making some changes.

I stirred everything together, poured it into little serving dishes, slid them into the refrigerator, and hoped for the best. And I was not disappointed.

This Russian Cream is so smooth and utterly creamy. But somehow it manages to be light at the same time. It’s slightly sour, but not nearly as tangy as cheesecake. It slips over your tongue delightfully. And there’s the occasional pleasant crunch from the vanilla beans.

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You can serve this dish with a variety of toppings: the vanilla rhubarb compote in this recipe, fresh berries (blackberries or raspberries are nice), good-quality jam…oh, and I just had an idea: LEMON CURD. That would be amazing.

Sour Cream Panna Cotta and Rhubarb Compote
Prep Time
Total Time
Also known as Russian cream, this tangy panna cotta is made with sour cream and so easy to throw together before a big summer dinner party. Adapted from Eighty Twenty Dietitian
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian Inspired
Serves: 6 half cup servings
  • ¼ to ½ cup maple syrup,
  • 2½ teaspoon grass-fed gelatin,
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water,
  • pinch of salt,
  • 1 cup heavy cream,
  • 1½ cups sour cream,
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste,
For the Vanilla Rhubarb Compote:
  • 1¼ cups chopped rhubarb,
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup,
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste,
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk the maple syrup and gelatin. Add the water, whisk, and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. The mixture may bubble up as it starts to boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream and vanilla bean paste. Whisk in the maple syrup/gelatin mixture. Pour into serving dishes, cover, and chill for 3-4 hours, or until totally set.
Meanwhile, make the rhubarb compote:
  1. In a small saucepan, boil the rhubarb and maple syrup until the rhubarb is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste. Chill before serving.
To serve:
  1. Top each of the bowls of Russian cream with the cooled rhubarb compote. Enjoy!
Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, so please don't use them in your compote!

You can use vanilla extract in place of the vanilla bean paste if you wish. Or you could substitute 1-2 vanilla beans.

If you're serving this with a very sour fruit, you may want to use the higher amount of maple syrup.


Erica Kastner

Hello! I’m Erica Lea. I’m a 20-something Christian living in northern Minnesota with a desire to cook quality food for my husband, Reuben, my little girl, Helen, and (eventually) my little boy, James. On Buttered Side Up I share recipes I have tried & modified (to be a tad healthier) and found to be delicious. My main focus is recipes with a healthy touch.

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