Recipe: Garnish creamy, smooth yogurt panna cotta with bright, macerated strawberries

Serves 4

Panna cotta has the consistency of custard with two distinctive differences: There are no eggs and the custard depends on gelatin to set it. In Italian, panna cotta means “cooked cream.” You dissolve sugar and gelatin in hot cream to start the custard. Here half-and-half and plain whole-milk yogurt replace the cream; honey barely sweetens it. Local strawberries macerated in a little sugar and lemon juice complement the tangy custard. While panna cotta is often made in lightly oiled molds and then turned out onto dessert plates, it’s much easier to pour it into cups and top them with the berries. Assemble the panna cotta at least four hours before you plan to serve it. It’s a dreamy make-ahead dessert with a beautiful, smooth white custard.

PANNA COTTA

3 tablespoons cold water
1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons honey, or more to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain, whole-milk yogurt (not Greek yogurt)

1. Have on hand 4 glass or ceramic cups (6 ounces each) and a small tray that will hold them.

2. In a heatproof bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, pour in the water. Sprinkle the gelatin over it. Stir briefly with a fork or small whisk to immerse the gelatin in the water. Set aside for 5 minutes to soften.

3. In a bowl in a microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat, heat 1/2 cup half-and-half for 1 minute, or until bubbles form around the edges of the bowl or pan.

4. Pour the hot half-and-half into the softened gelatin. Stir for about 30 seconds to melt the gelatin. When you rub a few drops of the mixture between your fingers you should not feel any graininess. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup half-and-half with the honey and vanilla. Add the yogurt and whiskey until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add 1 tablespoon more honey, if you like. The mixture should be tangy and not too sweet.

5. Divide the mixture among the 4 cups. Set them on the tray, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until set.

STRAWBERRIES

1 cup sliced ​​strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice

1. In a bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir gently. Let the berries sit for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves.

2. Spoon the strawberries and their juices over the cups of panna cotta.

Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 4

Panna cotta has the consistency of custard with two distinctive differences: There are no eggs and the custard depends on gelatin to set it. In Italian, panna cotta means “cooked cream.” You dissolve sugar and gelatin in hot cream to start the custard. Here half-and-half and plain whole-milk yogurt replace the cream; honey barely sweetens it. Local strawberries macerated in a little sugar and lemon juice complement the tangy custard. While panna cotta is often made in lightly oiled molds and then turned out onto dessert plates, it’s much easier to pour it into cups and top them with the berries. Assemble the panna cotta at least four hours before you plan to serve it. It’s a dreamy make-ahead dessert with a beautiful, smooth white custard.

PANNA COTTA

3 tablespoons cold water
1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons honey, or more to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain, whole-milk yogurt (not Greek yogurt)

1. Have on hand 4 glass or ceramic cups (6 ounces each) and a small tray that will hold them.

2. In a heatproof bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, pour in the water. Sprinkle the gelatin over it. Stir briefly with a fork or small whisk to immerse the gelatin in the water. Set aside for 5 minutes to soften.

3. In a bowl in a microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat, heat 1/2 cup half-and-half for 1 minute, or until bubbles form around the edges of the bowl or pan.

4. Pour the hot half-and-half into the softened gelatin. Stir for about 30 seconds to melt the gelatin. When you rub a few drops of the mixture between your fingers you should not feel any graininess. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup half-and-half with the honey and vanilla. Add the yogurt and whiskey until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add 1 tablespoon more honey, if you like. The mixture should be tangy and not too sweet.

5. Divide the mixture among the 4 cups. Set them on the tray, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until set.

STRAWBERRIES

1 cup sliced ​​strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice

1. In a bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir gently. Let the berries sit for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves.

2. Spoon the strawberries and their juices over the cups of panna cotta.Sally Pasley Vargas

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