Quite a few years ago–like maybe a couple decades ago–I dined at Macaroni Grill with a couple friends. We ordered a dessert called panna cotta, which I had never encountered before. It arrived as a perfectly-shaped, smooth white dome drizzled with raspberry sauce. My spoon slid into the custard-like dessert, picking up some of the tart raspberry sauce on the journey back toward my mouth.
It was love at first bite.
I had never tasted anything so light and so creamy and so dreamy and so elegant. Why had our paths never crossed before?
Not long after, my friend from that evening shared a panna cotta recipe with me when I raved about the dessert from that dinner. I made the recipe once only. I don’t recall how it tasted, but I guess that means it wasn’t scrumptious enough to leave an impression on me. I also had minimal kitchen skills back then, so maybe that had something to do with it. Okay, maybe it had a lot to do with it.
When I chanced upon this particular panna cotta recipe on a food blog, my memories flooded back to that night at Macaroni Grill and my short-lived love affair with the dessert. It was time to reignite the flame.
Plus, I had some Greek yogurt in the fridge in need of use.
And I had exactly one packet of gelatin leftover from a refreshingly fizzy fruit gelatin recipe.
And I had some mixed frozen berries in the freezer to add pizzazz to this treat. I kept it simple and just defrosted the berries, which released enough juice to dress up the dessert.
This all came together easily. And I got to use my cute trifle dessert cups for these.
So, if you are looking for simplicity, elegance, and a dreamy taste, this just might be the dessert for you.
By the way, I only used four trifle cups, but they were big portions. This can definitely be spread amongst more dessert cups. I can envision small juice glasses working well to house the panna cotta if you happen to have some of those in your kitchen cabinets.
Yogurt Panna Cotta
- 1 1/4 cups milk (any kind or combo of types should work…I used 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream)
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 — 1/3 cup honey (or sugar)
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (hint: strain regular plain yogurt for a few hours to eliminate some water and you’ll have the consistency of Greek yogurt for a lot less money)
- Place 1/4 cup of milk in a small bowl and sprinkle the packet of gelatin on top. Set it aside while the gelatin becomes moist.
- In a saucepan, warm the remaining milk until simmering but not at a full boil.
- Add vanilla and 1/4 cup honey; stir and taste. Add more honey if you want a sweeter taste.
- Add the gelatin and whisk until it has fully dissolved into the hot milk mixture.
- Remove pan from heat and add the Greek yogurt; stir until fully combined.
- If using fruit sauce, spoon some into the bottom of the containers you plan to use; set aside the remaining sauce for topping the panna cotta when you are ready to serve it.
- Pour panna cotta mix into small glasses, bowls, or ramekins (do this carefully if you have fruit on the bottom to not displace the sauce too much). Cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 3-4 hours (I found overnight allowed the panna cotta to set more firmly than just a few hours in the refrigerator). The panna cotta will keep well for 2 days.
Fruit Sauce (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries…fresh or frozen)
- Easy version: defrost frozen berries, which will create some tart juice.
- Slightly-more-work version: In a small saucepan, warm 1/2 cup of good-quality jam with 3/4 cup fresh or frozen berries. Mix until fully combined and hot. Allow to cool slightly before using.
- And a bit-more-work version: In a small saucepan, mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch until blended; stir in 1 1/2 cups berries. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; boil 2 minutes or until thickened. If you want some fruit chunks, add 1/2 cup more of berries when mixture cools. (from a very old Family Circle magazine…so old I don’t know the year!)
SOURCE: adapted from Glorious Treats