Vanilla Yogurt Panna Cotta

A couple of days ago, when I was in conversation with my cousin about the tonnes of dessert pictures I upload to my Instagram handle (do follow me @thefoodscape!), she asked me, “Do you ever get anything wrong when you’re baking or making a dessert?” I didn’t need to think about my answer. “All the time,” I replied. πŸ™‚

I have suchΒ crazy ideas for desserts, thatΒ more often than not they don’t work out. While some can be salvaged with go-to lifesavers like Nutella, Chocolate ganache or ice-cream, others turn out downright inedible. But hey, trial and error is everything! And sometimes if it doesn’t work out, well, that’s okay!

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This is exactly how I came about making this stunning Vanilla Yogurt Panna Cotta doused in Strawberry Compote. My brother was throwing a party for friends and dessert was my responsibility. I knew I wanted to do something with strawberries, and after giving it some thought, I decidedΒ to spin a dessert out of the wonderful combination of strawberries and Sunfeast’s Dark Fantasy Choco Fills. So I tried a couple variations of layered whipped cream, crushed cookies and strawberries. An adjustment here, some changes there; yet I just couldn’t get it right. ThenΒ I thought, with all that heavy cream lying in my kitchen, some Panna Cotta would be perfect! Out went the biscuits and into a pot on low heat to simmer went the cream… The rest is history. πŸ˜›

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Here’s what you need:

For the Vanilla Yogurt Panna Cotta:

  • Heavy Cream – 1 cup (if you’re in India, you can use 1 pack of Amul Whipping Cream)
  • Caster Sugar – 1/4 cup + more if you would prefer it sweeter
  • Vanilla Bean – 1 (alternatively, you could use 2-3 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
  • Yogurt – 1/4 cup
  • Powdered gelatin – 3/4 tsp
  • Milk – 1/4 cup

For the Strawberry Compote:

  • Fresh Strawberries – 500 g, hulled and cubed
  • Sugar – 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • A couple drops of red food colouring (optional)

Here’s how you put this beautiful dessert together:

  • In a pot on low heat, bring heavy cream, sugar and vanilla to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • While the cream is cooking, pour gelatin into the milk and allow it to dissolve for about 10 minutes.
  • When the cream comes to a boil, take it off the heat, pull out the vanilla bean and preserve for another use. Gently mix in the milk and gelatin. Then fold in the yogurt, making sure not to incorporate too much air into the mixture.
  • Then pour the cream mixture into cups, dessert bowls or fancy glasses and refrigerate for about eight hours (or overnight) to set.
  • While the Panna Cotta is left to set, bring strawberries, sugar and lemon juice to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved and the strawberries turn mushy, take it off the heat and add some red food colouring. Leave to cool. Once cooled, you can either serve it as is, or run the compote through a fine sieve, and serve just the saucy bit while leaving out the strawberry chunks.
  • When the Panna Cotta has set, pour the compote over it and eat!
  • If you would like to serve your Panna Cotta free-standing (like in the pictures), dip the dessert bowl or ramekin into warm water for about 20 seconds or until the panna cotta pulls away from the mould, then carefully overturn it onto a plate. Pour strawberry compote over it and serve immediately.

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As you can tell, this is one super easy recipe. All it takes is a couple of minutes to put together. The ingredients are easily available, the technique involved is hassle free and it’s just the perfect recipe for when things don’t go your way in the kitchen. All you need is to spare a half-hour ahead of time, pop it into the fridge and then you can forget all about it until it’s time for dessert!

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All of my brother’s guests were blown away by this Vanilla Yogurt Panna Cotta. And when they called it a night and left, the brother, cousin, boyfriend and I went back for some seconds, thirds and fourths! πŸ˜‰

I love how the sweetness in this dessert is subtle, the tang coming from the yogurt and berries is deliberate and yet it is all perfectly balanced out by the wonderful aroma of vanilla. It is light, packed with flavour and just stunning to look at; what more could you possibly want from dessert? Oh, and it’s the perfect snack too. (Don’t judge me!) πŸ˜›

Give this recipe a try right away, maybe as dessert for this Valentine’s Day? It is red and romantic after all! πŸ˜‰

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