Ever had a Panna Cotta? It’s a subtly sweet, cool and creamy Italian dessert that will make you turn your back on tiramisu forever. The only catch is that they take 8 hours to set—but this is really an advantage. Take 30 minutes the night before to make the panna cottas, chill them overnight, and dessert is done. Not to mention delicious. These are perfect for a fancy occasion…they are elegant, showstopping, and honestly—so simple to make (i’ve made them 5 times, once after having a few cocktails, and everything turned out perfect). The following recipe makes 4-5 servings.
Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries
1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp cold water
1 ½ cups heavy cream, divided
1/3 cup sugar (plus a little extra)
1 vanilla bean
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 pint of strawberries, sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
Gotta get that gelatin hydrated. Start by combining the cold water and gelatin in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve; allow to set for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in small saucepan over medium heat, combine ¾ cup cream with 1/3 cup sugar, stirring to dissolve.
Now the fun part—the vanilla bean! Use a paring knife to split the bean lengthwise, then use the back of the knife to scrape out the vanilla seeds from both sides. Whisk the vanilla seeds into the saucepan. Fun and delicious! (Wanna see a video on how to do this? Click here.)
While that comes to a simmer, combine the yogurt, remaining cream, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl. Once you’ve hit a simmer on the saucepan, take it off the heat and whisk in the gelatin, then add that mixture to the cold mixture in the bowl. Whisk it all together, then pour into your serving dishes (more on that later). Set panna cottas in the fridge to start cooling.
Now for those strawberries. After slicing, just mix strawberries, balsamic, and sugar in Tupperware and pop in the fridge. You can add a little lemon zest if you want.
After your PC’s have cooled down, cover them with plastic wrap to ward off fridge funk. Chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Service with Style
Most restaurants and cookbooks serve/show panna cottas that have been removed from their chilling vessels, like jello molds. That’s fine, but it’s a step you can skip if you pick the right container. As you can see, I used martini glasses, and I think they worked great…you can see the flecks of vanilla, and it’s kinda fun. You can use any ramekin or glass…maybe next time I’ll use a champagne flute…fun!