Panna cotta is an Italian dish and is considered a light dessert. Since this recipe contains yogurt, I also consider it a healthy snack. One of the greatest compliments I received on this recipe was the day I took a sample to an Italian friend of mine.
The week before I asked her if she liked Panna Cotta.
“Oh my yes,” she said. “My grandma used to make it. She used blackberries and we ate it with graham crackers.”
My friend opened the container I brought her, looked at it and said, “It looks just like my grandmother’s.”
“Try it,” I begged. “I want to know if it’s right.”
My friend scooped up a spoonful of my panna cotta and took a bite.
She closed her eyes, inhaled, and said, “I am a child again in my grandmother’s kitchen. This is perfect.“
Needless to say, I sent the rest of the container home with her. When she asked me how I made it, I couldn’t tell her, because I had combined several recipes.
In the past few months, I’ve made this numerous times. There are two munchkins who come to my house on many weekends, and they beg for this. I’ve bought more cream in the past months than I had in all the years previous!
This week I also made a recipe using oranges. I found recipes using orange rind, but I had so many oranges threatening to spoil soon, so I peeled them and tossed them in the kettle with the cream. Little guy liked the orange, but he still prefers the blackberry flavor. Now he’s begging me to make some with blueberries.
Store the panna cotta in small jars in your refrigerator. When you want a quick snack, it’s ready to go. I ate some with graham crackers one day, and it’s definitely a child-friendly snack.
To make this recipe, be careful not to allow the cream to come to a boil. If you prefer your panna cotta to be more set, use the amount of gelatin specified in the recipe. If you like it a little softer, you can decrease the gelatin by a third or half. It will continue to set for more than a few hours.
Stirring the blackberries into the cream and mashing them as they heat.
To begin, mix your sugar with the fruit and let it sit for 30-60 minutes. It will help draw the flavor out of the fruit. If you’re pushed for time, you can do it in less. This I know because . . . !
Add 1 cup cream to the fruit in the kettle and bring to a simmer or steaming point. Do not boil. [If it happens to begin bubbling, don’t panic; just take it off the burner.] Once it begins to steam, remove from the burner and allow it to steep for about 15 minutes. [Really, this always varies for me because I forget to set a timer; so sometimes it’s ten minutes and sometimes it’s twenty.]
While the mixture is steeping, dissolve the gelatin in the water. I made a mistake once and used one teaspoon instead of one tablespoon. That evening it was still a little runny, but by morning it was nicely set. One time I also mistakenly added the gelatin/water between the two times in the kettle instead of at the end, and it worked fine.
Combine yogurt, remaining cream, and honey (optional) and add to the kettle. Bring the entire mixture back to a steaming point.
Pour the mixture through a sieve. I use a regular strainer. Mash down on the fruit so all the liquid will go through the strainer. Take your time with this so you get it all, down to the last drop! Discard pulp and return liquid to the kettle. Add the gelatin mixture, stirring until it is completely dissolved. Add vanilla.
Pour into jars, cover, and refrigerate for 4 or more hours, until it is set. Keeps well refrigerated for several days.
With this recipe, you can use all honey or a combination of honey and sugar.
Panna Cotta - with Greek Yogurt
- 2 cups heavy cream - divided in 1 cup segments
- 2 cups or more fruit - I use blackberries or oranges
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
- 1-2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon plain gelatin
- Prepare jars or containers for storage
- Wash fruit
- Place fruit and sugar into a kettle and let it sit for 30+ minutes - no heat
- Stir occasionally; it will help bring out the juice into the sugar
- To the kettle, add 1 cup heavy cream and honey
- Bring it to a simmer but do not boil.
- Remove from heat and allow to steep for 15+ minutes
- Pour mixture through a sieve, pressing down to extract all the juice from the fruit
- Dissolve gelatin in water
- Add to the mixture
- Add yogurt and remaining cream to the mixture
- Return to heat and bring back to simmer
- Remove from heat and add vanilla.
- Stir until vanilla and gelatin is well mixed.