Basil Panna Cotta With Macerated Strawberries

I am a panna cotta fanatic, and if I’m dining out and I see they have this creamy dessert on the menu I almost always order it. Panna cotta translates simply as cooked cream, and you can vary the flavors by using a myriad of additives, as well as by substituting yogurt or buttermilk for the cream. Although cream creates a exceptionally smooth, rich pudding, yogurt and buttermilk are also delicious, adding a slight tang, as well as reducing calories. I used fat free Greek yogurt in this version, naturally sweetened with honey and subtly flavored with basil. To top my panna cotta, I simply macerated fresh, chopped strawberries in a little lemon juice, sugar, and fresh basil. The finished dessert is exceptionally pretty with the soft green custard topped with vibrant, bright berries. Panna cotta is always a great choice when entertaining, as you can prepare it ahead of time, then simply remove from the refrigerator when ready to serve.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2013

Basil Panna Cotta With Macerated Strawberries

Yield: Serves 4 - 6

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

1 Cup Plus 3 Tablespoons Skim Milk

1 Envelope Unflavored Powdered Gelatin

1/4 to 1/3 Cup Organic Honey
1 Tablespoon Grated Orange Zest
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

2 Cups Fat Free Greek Yogurt (I Prefer Fage Brand)
Topping:
1 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Strawberries
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Sugar

Directions:

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 3 tablespoons of milk, and allow to rest for 5 minutes to soften.
In a saucepan, heat the remaining 1 cup of milk until it is simmering but before it comes to a full boil.
Add the orange zest, and 1/4 cup of the honey, stir and taste.
Add the remaining honey if you prefer it sweeter.
Blanch the basil in boiling water for 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water.
Squeeze the basil to remove water, then add to the milk.
Place the mixture into a blender and pulse until blended.
Strain the mixture through a sieve, and return to the pot.
Bring the milk back to a simmer, then whisk in the gelatin and continue to whisk until it has completed melted into the hot milk.
Remove from the heat, then stir in the two cups of yogurt and mix until well blended.
Pour the mixture into 6 (1/2 cup ramekins) or 4 larger glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours.
For the topping, mix together all the topping ingredients and refrigerate until needed.
If using ramekins, run a sharp knife around the edges and turn out onto small plates
To serve, place a scoop of the strawberries on each panna cotta with some of the syrup.



 

6 Responses to “Basil Panna Cotta With Macerated Strawberries”

  1. 1
    AdriBarr — January 18, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

    Basil panna cotta! I love it! And I bet the honey was the perfect sweetener. Genius idea!

    [Reply]

    Deborah Reply:

    Adri, thanks! I lightened it up though, so it wasn’t as creamy as it would have been had I used cream, but it was delicious.

    [Reply]

  2. 2
    AdriBarr — January 18, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

    Oh, I bet it is FAB. Over the last few years, I have lightened mine up too, using buttermilk, or half cream and half whole milk. Funny, but all those things we indulged in back in the eighties seem a bit heavy and too rich for me now. I think the combo of the rich Greek yogurt and the skim milk would be very refreshing, the perfect complement to the basil & berries. I vote Yes, go light!

    [Reply]

  3. 3
    Ciao Pittsburgh — January 20, 2013 @ 8:17 am

    Wow, looks great! It seems like an easy recipe to make. We’ll have to try this out sometime.

    [Reply]

  4. 4
    Tracy A. — January 20, 2013 @ 10:54 am

    This sounds absolutely wonderful to me!

    [Reply]

  5. 5
    Barb — January 31, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

    You take the best pictures of all your dishes. Makes me want to try everything you post.

    [Reply]

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