The Scot won the women's K1 event by nearly four seconds, a massive winning margin on a hugely demanding and technical course.
And gold pays off the 30-year old's decision to carry on in the sport after narrowly missing out on selection for last year's London 2012 Olympics.
“I can't quite believe that I'm European champion," she said.
“This is my best result ever. I got the bronze last year and there's been silver at the worlds back in 2006, but this is my first title win, so I'm very, very pleased.
“I've been canoeing for the last nine months since the end of last season and concentrated everything on the canoeing.
"After last season everybody said to me it will come to you, you just got to wait, put in the hard work and it will come and sure enough it seems to have happened."
Pennie then teamed up with Lizzie Neave and Bethan Latham to win silver in the women's K1 event but Olympic champions Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott were 19th in men's C2, with British team-mates and London 2012 silver medallists David Florence and Richard Hounslow ranked ninth.
“Congratulations to Fiona Pennie not only on the win but on the nature of her performance – really awesome stuff," said British team performance chief John Anderson.
“This is the first European Championship gold medal that GB has ever won in the women’s K1 and the first women’s K1 gold in any major international competition since Helen Reeves won a World Cup in 2004, which explains the magnitude of Fiona’s achievement here.
“Overall we had six boats in individual finals which was great. We haven’t had two men in the K1 European final since 2009, so that is really encouraging and Joe Clarke gave a fearless performance in his fist senior championships.
"In fact I think all of the youngsters have stepped up and had a good introduction to senior racing.”
© Sportsbeat 2013
- Sports & Recreation
- Fiona Pennie
- London 2012 Olympics