Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries

This Panna Cotta is one of the favorite desserts at our house.  You make it an evening in advance, but it’s simple to put together.  The panna cotta is fresh and lacks the overly sweet taste that you get when you buy it in the store.

And then the Balsamic Strawberries…don’t freak out, keep reading…

Letting the sliced strawberries marinate in the balsamic vinegar, pepper and sugar mixture brings out their sweetness in ways you cannot imagine (until you try it)!

Balsamic vinegar + Fresh strawberries + Black pepper +Sugar = a Match Made in Heaven.

Panna Cotta translates to “cooked cream”, which is the perfect translation.  It is a traditionally Italian dessert that originated in Piedmont, Nothern Italy’s mountainous region.  The region was perfect for grazing and provided an abundance of high-quality dairy products, which is what the Panna Cotta evolved out of.  Apparently, Panna Cotta has a history that dates back to before the invention of gelatin or the widespread distribution of sugar.  Boiled fish bones were used as a thickening agent while root crops were used as sweeteners…

For this Panna Cotta recipe, I suggest using gelatin and sugar instead.  For flavor and many other reasons…

Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 packet (1 tsp.) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tbsp.
  • 2 pints (4 cups) sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated lemon zest, for serving

 

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on 1 1/2 tablespoon of cold water.  Stir and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to dissolve.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of the cream, the yogurt, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds.
  • Heat the remaining 3/4 cup of cream and the 1/3 cup of sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Off the heat, add the softened gelatin to the hot cream and stir to dissolve.
  • Pour the hot-gelatin mixture into the cold cream-yogurt mixture and stir to combine.
  • Pour into 4 (6 to 8-ounce) ramekins or custard cups and refrigerate uncovered until cold.
  • When the panna cottas are thoroughly chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Combine the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and pepper 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.  Set aside at room temperature.
  • To serve, run a small knife around each dessert in the ramekin and dip the bottom of each ramekin quickly in a bowl of hot tap water.
  • Invert each ramekin onto a dessert plate and surround the panna cotta with strawberries.
  • Dust lightly with freshly grated lemon zest and serve.

Serves: 4

Enjoy!

(Recipe by: Ina Garten)

 

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