Light Panna Cotta (Two ways)

Panna Cotta is a classic Italian dessert, which literally means “cooked cream”. This luscious and velvety smooth dessert is incredibly easy to put together as it takes less than ten minutes of cooking time and five ingredients. It is simply, dairy (cream and milk) warmed up, delicately sweetened with sugar, flavored with vanilla and set with gelatin. In short, a cream jello!!!

Traditionally, in panna cotta cream and milk are used in more or less 1:1 ratio. In past few days I made it thrice setting several cups of custard trying to make it light and easy on waist line. I tried substituting the cream with half and half, condensed milk, evaporated milk and yogurt. Half and half gave rich and smooth panna cotta which is actually very close to the real one. Condensed milk gave it more dense and sweeter taste. Finally, to my satisfaction, evaporated milk gave silky smooth texture for less calories and saturated fat. Yogurt worked well too giving tartness to the sweet dish which yogurt lovers would love to have. The beauty of this recipe is, it is fool proof and can be easily tweaked. You can use soy/coconut/almond milk instead of milk for vegan version or use agar agar instead of gelatin for vegetarian version or add any fruit puree/melted chocolate to have flavored panna cotta.

Here, I mentioned two versions, one made with evaporated milk and served with strawberry coulis and another made with yogurt and served with honey and nuts. The only tricky part is using agar agar. Here you can find everything about it.  Try these quick and easy panna cotta recipe for light dessert. Set them in molds of different shape or serve in beautiful custard cups with fresh berries or berry coulis or honey.

Panna Cotta

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

Evaporated Milk, 2%: 1 cup

Milk, 2%: 1 cup

Brown Sugar: 3-4 tbsp (any sweetener)

Vanilla Essence: 1/2 tsp

Agar Agar: 1 1/2 tbsp, flakes (1 1/2 tsp Agar powder or 1 1/2 tsp of Gelatin powder)

Water: 3 tbsp

Oil: 1/2 tsp

Procedure:

  1. Soak agar agar flakes in water for 10 mins. Put it on low heat until agar agar dissolves (20 mins). Stir it occasionally as it may stick to the bottom.
  2. Grease two 4 oz ramekins with oil and keep aside
  3. Mix evaporated milk, milk, sugar, vanilla and heat it on medium flame or in the microwave. Do not bring to boil (we need it hot but not boiling hot)
  4. Mix the agar agar and milk mixture and pour it in ramekins by passing it through sieve
  5. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or set in freezer for 30 mins if you are pressed for time
  6. Before serving, demold by dipping the ramekins in hot water for 10 secs or run a thin butter knife around the edges and flip it out onto the platter

Yogurt Panna Cotta

Servings:2

Ingredients:

Greek/Hung Yogurt : 1 cup, whisked (I used hung)

Milk: 1 cup

Vanilla/Almond Essence: 1 tsp (I used almond)

Brown Sugar: 1/4 cup (any sweetener)

Agar Agar: 1 1/2 tbsp, flakes (1 1/2 tsp Agar powder or 1 1/2 tsp of Gelatin powder)

Water: 3 tbsp

Oil: 1/2 tsp

Procedure:

  1. Soak agar agar flakes in water for 10 mins. Put it on low heat until agar agar dissolves (20 mins). Stir it occasionally as it may stick to the bottom.
  2. Grease two 4 oz ramekins with oil and keep aside
  3. Whisk the yogurt until smooth and bring to room temperature.
  4. Mix milk, sugar, vanilla and heat it on medium flame or in the microwave. Do not bring to boil as we need it hot but not boiling hot
  5. Mix the agar agar and milk mixture and pass through sieve to avoid any agar lumps.
  6. Gently add milk mixture to yogurt mixture whisking continuously in one direction. Pour it into ramekins.
  7. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or set in freezer for 30 mins if you are pressed for time
  8. Before serving, demold by dipping the ramekins in hot water for 10 secs or run a thin butter knife around the edges and flip it out onto the platter

Strawberry Coulis

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Strawberries: 8-10,  pitted and halved

Sugar: 2-3 tbsp

Water: 1/4 cup

Strawberry Jam/Jelly: 1 tsp (Optional, can use any fruit preserves or jam)

Procedure:

  1. In a saucepan, mix all the ingredients and bring to boil and simmer for 10 mins until thick
  2. Let it come to room temperature and blend into a smooth puree
  3. Pass it through sieve if you do not want seeds or use as is

pc-prep1pc-prep2

pc-prep3PC-PREP4

Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis
Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis
Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey and Pista
Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey and Pistachio

Notes:

  1. The general rule is, to set panna cotta  we need 3/4th tsp of agar agar/gelatin powder or 3/4th tbsp of agar flakes per one cup of liquid (any dairy)

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