Why I Love This Recipe
First, a warning about Panna Cotta. This is not nearly as sweet a desert as crème brule. Don’t let the heavy cream & yogurt fool you. This is more of a refreshing clean palette kind of custard as opposed to the somewhat heavy, sweet, richness of crème brule or flan. Also, Panna Cotta needs about 12 hours to fully set up… The gelatin needs time, when it comes to dairy, to work its way through the mixture to spread its gel netting and stiffen the custard. Don’t be upset if it seems a little jiggley when you cover it with plastic wrap, just give it more time, and it will set as long as you don’t over heat your gelatin. That is why I suggest using a water method, as it is gentler than over direct heat in a stainless measuring cup. For something a little more, shall we say interesting, you can drop the vanilla bean and add about 3TB of your favorite liquor to this recipe as well, such as Frangelico, Gran Marnier, Cointreau, Kirschwasser/Marachino, Tuaca, Sweet Marsala, 99 Bananas, Limoncello, Galliano, Baileys, or even Midori (Although the green color is a little un-settling).
Ingredients You'll Need
1/4 cup water (For gelatin)
2 3/8 tsp unflavored gelatin or 2 tsp of Agar
2 2/3 cups heavy cream
1 cup Goat milk Yogurt or Whole-Milk Yogurt (Goat Milk is better, it has a fresher taste)
½ Vanilla bean (scraped) or 1 tsp Vanilla Extract or 3 TB Liquor
½ cup Honey (Orange Blossom if available)
Put ¼ cup water in a small glass bowl or Ceramic ramekin and sprinkle gelatin over it.
Let stand for 10 minutes or until gelatin softens (Blooming).
In a large bowl combine 1 cup cream, yogurt, whisk until smooth. I use a large (6 cup) glass measuring cup with a spout to make pouring of panna cotta into ramekins easier.
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the remaining cream with honey and Vanilla; bring to a simmer while stirring.
Remove from heat, remove vanilla bean pod and strain through 4 layers of cheese cloth.
If you want flecks in your Panna Cotta, only strain through 2 layers.
Let Cool for about 10 minutes while you melt the Gelatin.
Melt gelatin by placing small bowl in barely simmering water, stir until gelatin becomes clear, then remove bowl from water immediately….
You do not want your gelatin to get to hot, or it will begin to break down.
Add the gelatin to the warm Cream/Honey/Vanilla mixture and stir well.
Pour the warm cream mixture into the cool yogurt cream mixture and whisk, just until smooth, no more than that or you will interfere with the gelling process that has started.
Quickly divide the mixture among 12 - 4 oz ramekins, or for larger servings of 6 oz use 8 tea cups.
Be careful of the shape, you will have to be able to run a knife around the sides to release it later.
Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
You can serve panna cotta right in the ramekins, or invert each ramekin onto a plate.
To invert panna cotta, set the ramekins into a pan of hot water for 1 minute.
Run a knife or a small off-set spatula around the edges of ramekins and invert them onto plates. Remove the ramekins.
Serve plain or top panna cotta with Marsala Nut Sauce, Berry Coulee or Strawberries in balsamic vinegar (See Other Recipes) and serve.