Panna cotta is a dessert made with lightly sweetened cream that is delicious with fresh berries, lemon curd, or even a layer of gelée if you want to get fancy. Panna cotta means “cooked cream” in Italian, somewhat of a misnomer with modern day recipes that use gelatin to stabilize the cream. The only cooking required is to dissolve sugar and dry gelatin, which takes about a minute.
I like to make my panna cotta with a blend of tangy yogurts, sometimes goat or sheep if I can get the good stuff from Bellwether Farms or Redwood Hill. Be careful not to heat yogurt over 130°F or you will kill the probiotic bacteria.
eight 5–6 ounce jars; adapted from recipes by Amanda Hesser, The Kitchn, and Florence Fabricant
- 2½ cups heavy cream, divided ideally Kalispell Kreamery or other brand that is not ultra-pasteurized. Horizon and Organic Valley are ultra but still have good flavor.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups sheep or goat milk yogurt, unsweetened (or substitute Greek yogurt) Bellwether Farms (sheep) or Redwood Hill Farm (goat)
- 1½ cups Greek yogurt, unsweetened Straus Family Creamery (cow)
- 4 tablespoons water
- 4 teaspoons unflavored dry gelatin one envelope Knox = ¼ ounce = 2½ teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, rose water, or orange blossom water
- 2 pinches Kosher or fine sea salt
Pour water into a small bowl and sprinkle with the dry gelatin. Let stand to soften.
Put 1 cup cream in a saucepan, add sugar, and whisk over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a larger bowl, whisk together the remaining cream (1½ cups), yogurts, flavoring, and salt. When cream + gelatin mixture has cooled to below 130° whisk it into the yogurt-cream. Pour into individual ramekins, cups or bowls. Refrigerate until set, ideally overnight.
Recipe Notes / Tips
- Raspberry Gelée adapted from Robin Leventhal: Make a raspberry purée by bringing 1 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add 1 cup raspberries, cover and let steep 15 minutes then blend, strain out seeds, and return juice to saucepan skimming off any foam. Put 2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon dry gelatin, set aside to soften. Add to the saucepan of fruit purée and reheat gently whisking to dissolve the gelatin. Let cool then pour over completely chilled panna cottas. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.