Being not much of a dessert person, it is often a footnote on my menus … just a little something sweet that complements the dinner. If my husband had his druthers, dessert would be the star, and dinner the afterthought. But alas, I am the one who likes to cook.
That being said, when looking for desserts, seasonal and EASY are often the two most important factors. I love making simple vanilla ice cream taking cue from the season or menu for a topping, but this time decided to switch it up a bit. Panna cotta, which is also a cream based dessert, seemed to be the perfect fit.
This one was inspired by Cannelle et Vanille, but adapted from a Food & Wine recipe, as the batteries in my scale were dead and my store only had powdered gelatin. The cream and vanilla bean give it a lovely richness, but the real star is the yogurt, which gives it a bit of tartness, and in my book “makes it sing.” Particularly complementary to the season’s sweetest strawberries!
I also love just serving it in simple glasses or ramekins, another notch in the easy belt, versus the traditional unmolded style.
Yogurt & Vanilla Panna Cotta
2½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups plain yogurt (good quality or greek)
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
2¼ teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin (1 envelope)
3 tablespoons water
Seasonal berries, for serving
In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, yogurt, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds. Bring the mixture just to a simmer over moderate heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until evenly moistened, about 5 minutes.
Uncover the cream mixture and bring just to a simmer over moderately high heat. Remove from heat, add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove the vanilla bean and save for another use. Pour the panna cotta mixture into eight 4-ounce ramekins or small glasses and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the panna cotta is set but still jiggly, at least 3 hours.
Serve in the glasses, with berries.
Optional – if berries aren’t sweet enough, slice and sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of sugar to let macerate. Serve with berries and their juice.
NOTE: The panna cottas can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.