Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No-Stress Lemon Panna Cotta with Honey-Balsamic Berries...Featuring Chobani Lemon Yogurt

I have to admit that I wasn’t a huge yogurt fan until I tasted Greek yogurt...something about the thicker texture and extra protein made it more appealing to me. That’s why I was so excited when Chobani offered to send me some of their yummy Greek yogurt to try, share my thoughts with you, and share a recipe using their products. We eat Chobani all the time, but I tried flavors that were new to me apple-cinnamon, pomegranate, lemon, 2% pineapple, and 2% plain. I earmarked the lemon and plain to use in recipes, but we snacked on the other flavors over the course of a few days.

I enjoyed all the flavors, but my favorite was the pomegranate. You know the fruit is real, because it includes the pom seeds! This yogurt was creamy, thick, and just sweet enough to eat straight from the container. Michael’s favorite was the apple-cinnamon...he said it was reminiscent of apple pie without a crust. I used the 2% pineapple one weekend to make a fruit and granola yogurt parfait for a quick and healthy brunch. We paired the yogurt with fresh pineapple, banana, and berries. It was so good and really filling thanks to the extra protein!!

I wanted to find a really great recipe to showcase the lemon yogurt...I couldn’t decide whether to make a dessert or maybe lemon-blueberry pancakes. The problem with most lemon desserts I found was that they included non-dairy topping and/or condensed milk. I occasionally use those products, but I wanted to use natural ingredients this time to match this all-natural yogurt. Luckily, I stumbled upon Ina Garten’s recipe for lemon panna cotta with balsamic strawberries that used yogurt in the base. I subbed Chobani lemon and made a few other tweaks: I added lemon zest and juice and upped the gelatin to compensate for the extra acid. I also added a smidge more sugar and used half cream and half milk to lower the fat content just a bit.

Ina served her panna cotta with strawberries that had macerated in balsamic and a touch of sugar. I added a few blueberries, as well as honey and vanilla bean paste. This recipe was a bit outside my normal comfort zone: I’d never cooked with unflavored gelatin, and I’ve always been a bit intimidated by panna cotta. The idea of unmolding it successfully made me nervous. I call my panna cotta No-Stress Lemon Panna Cotta because it’s served in ramekins or martini it doesn’t have to be unmolded. Works for me!!

No-Stress Lemon Panna Cotta 
with Honey-Balsamic Berries
adapted from Ina Garten, via Food Network

Step 1:  Add one envelope unflavored gelatin to 3 tbs. cold water. Stir well to combine and set aside Add the following ingredients to a mixing bowl: 1 container Chobani lemon yogurt, 3/4 cup heavy cream, and 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or the seeds from one vanilla pod). Whisk well to combine and set aside.

Step 2:  Add 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup sugar, the zest of one lemon, and the juice of half a lemon to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and add the reserved softened gelatin. Whisk to combine until the gelatin dissolves. Pour the warm cream mixture into the yogurt-cream mixture in the bowl and whisk well to combine. Ladle into four ramekins, martini glasses, or wine glasses. Refrigerate uncovered until chilled -- about 2 hours.

Step 3:  Once the panna cottas are chilled, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving, up to overnight. You can make the macerated berries then, or wait until closer to serving time...but I’d give them at least two hours to macerate before serving to let the flavors mellow and combine with the juices the berries release.

Step 4:  To make the macerated berries, combine the following ingredients in a bowl: 2 cups chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar, 2 tbs. honey, 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste, the zest of one lemon, and 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper. Stir well to combine and add a bit of sugar, if necessary, for your taste. I added 1 tbs. of sugar to my berries...but you might want a bit more or a bit less. 

To serve, top each panna cotta with 1/4 of the macerated berries and some of the flavorful juice that collects in the bottom of the bowl. As you can see, this panna cotta is equally pretty in a martini glass as it is in a ramekin. I only have two martini glasses, so I put two servings in ramekins. 

 As usual, my girl Ina didn’t let me down! This is a really great not-too-sweet dessert to have in your bag of tricks: 20ish minutes to prepare, can be made 24 hours in advance since it needs to refrigerate before serving, LOTS of flavor, and very pretty! The colorful berries really pop against the creamy-white panna cotta, and I LOVED the visible flecks of vanilla bean and lemon zest! The black pepper may seem a bit out of place here, but it’s subtle and really compliments the other flavors nicely. The texture of the panna cotta is creamy, but not overly rich. Michael said the texture reminded him a bit of flan.

Best of all? Another kitchen fear conquered...panna cotta is now part of my dessert repertoire! Before I leave, I wanted to announce the winner of the Terrapin Ridge Farms giveaway: 

Karen from Tasty Trials 

Congrats! If you didn't win this time, don't fret...more fun giveaways are coming up soon. Also...make SURE to come back on Friday to get the scoop about a really cool contest that Spices Inc. is sponsoring for my readers only!! You don't want to miss this one, I promise...

Chobani sent me a 12-pack of their Greek yogurt to facilitate this post and recipe feature. The opinions expressed are my own, as always!

1 comment:

  1. Very delicious, by just looking on the picture, it made my mouth watery. I am a yoghurt lover, don't know why, from the first time I tasted it. By the way, is it good if I use apple for that recipe?


I love hearing your feedback!!!