Thursday, December 18, 2014

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta

If I had to pick a non-chocolate dessert to eat for the rest of my lift (I say non-chocolate because a chocolate dessert will easily beat out any other), it would be panna cotta.  I tried panna cotta for the first time a few years back when I was helping my cousin make one for a family gathering, and I remember thinking that this was a really, really strange dessert.  I just couldn't understand how combining milk and cream and sugar could be good (clearly I hadn't attempted to make ice cream yet), and adding gelatin into the mix just seemed like a recipe for something really funky. I wasn't convinced that we had a winning dessert on our hands, but my cousin assured me that this was something special.  Needless to say, she was completely right. I hadn't tasted anything quite like it before, but my mind had been changed- cream, milk, sugar, and gelatin are a recipe for something DELISH!

I like playing with variations on the traditional panna cotta, just to see what other interesting flavors are possible.  I've made a buttermilk panna cotta that I thought was delicious, and this particular recipe for a panna cotta made with Greek yogurt is one that I've had my eye on for quite some time. I was inspired by Chobani's  #MadeWithChobani project, and I figured that with the holidays literally around the corner, now would be the perfect time to finally try out this recipe. 

I figured a panna cotta would be a perfect dessert recipe to share this time of year, because it's such a great option for a holiday dessert. Not only is it incredibly easy to mix up, it can easily be scaled up in case you need to feed a crowd, and the best part is that you have to make it in advance.  Nothing beats that when it comes to entertaining during the holidays! All you have to do is whisk together a little Chobani Greek yogurt with milk and cream, and add in a hot mixture of milk, cream and gelatin.  A little vanilla extract gets stirred in, and the panna cotta mixture is then divided up into small glasses (or, alternatively, you can pour it into a cake pan and unmold by dipping the pan in hot water).  The panna cotta then has to go in the fridge until it sets, so if you want to make this the night before your holiday party, it's a great option.  
Aside from being a highly convenient dessert option, panna cotta is also sophisticated (but not fussy) and just plain delicious.  Because I was making this panna cotta with the holidays in mind, I used whole milk Chobani, but you can certainly use 2% or non-fat, and you can also change the ratio of milk to cream in order to slim down the dessert slightly and make it less rich.  I think there's nothing wrong with indulging a little during the holidays, but the next time I want to satisfy my panna cotta fix, I'll give this a shot with 2% Chobani and a little less cream.  Regardless of how you make this panna cotta, it's a dessert you won't forget.  It's creamy, dreamy, and unbelievably smooth; there's nothing quite like it!

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta
recipe adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen 


1/4 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 packet) unflavored gelatin (I used Knox)
2 cups plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
1 cup milk, divided

1 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract


Add the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Set aside for 15 minutes so that the gelatin softens.
In a large bowl, whisk all of the Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt. In a small saucepan, bring remaining milk, cream and sugar to a simmer. Whisk in water-gelatin mixture to dissolve, and remove from heat. Whisk the gelatin mixture into the yogurt mixture, then stir in the vanilla extract. Pour mixture into small glasses or ramekins and chill in fridge for at least 2 hours. 

To serve, top with fresh raspberries and enjoy!

Makes 9 1/2-cup servings


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