I’ve always wanted to try panna cotta, but it’s not that easy to find a halal version of it in cafes or eateries here. Panna cotta is essentially an Italian dessert made with cream, milk and sugar. Since it needs gelatine to set, it’s trickier to find a version that is made with halal gelatine.
That said, I thought it’d be faster to find out how panna cotta tastes like by making a batch myself, even if I’ve never tried the dessert, ever. Hashtag, close enough.
The verdict? The panna cotta was smooth and creamy, with a slight tang from the Greek yogurt used in the recipe. Most of the recipes that I found online did not use greek yogurt, but as I was rather apprehensive about using cups of heavy cream for this dessert, I picked this recipe instead.
I was hoping that the slightly sour taste of Greek yogurt could cut through the richness, and phew, it did!
Initially, when the yogurt hit my tastebuds, I panicked a little because I thought that slight sour-ish taste meant that the heavy cream/ milk/ yogurt that I used was beyond its expiry dates. (It wasn’t, by the way.) In the subsequent spoonfuls, however, the panna cotta left a sweet, creamy aftertaste. I asked my family members if they could detect the yogurt taste, but none of them even noticed it. It’s just me, I guess.
Using a single vanilla pod also gave it a subtle flavour, making it extra decadent. Plus, it’s always nice to see speckles of vanilla in a dessert, no? How fancy, hur hur.
I served my dessert with some sliced strawberries, but you can add other fruits (raspberries, blueberries, passion fruit, etc) or a drizzle of honey, if you like.
Vanilla Panna Cotta (from Food Network)
Makes about 6-8 servings
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp unflavoured gelatine powder
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- Sliced strawberries for garnish
- In a separate bowl, place the milk and sprinkle the gelatine over it. Let stand until the gelatine softens. (This will take about 5 minutes.)
- Place the heavy cream in a saucepan. Halve the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape the seeds with a knife. Add the seeds and pod to the saucepan.
- Add the sugar, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once the mixture is simmering and the sugar dissolves, discard the vanilla pod.
- Stir in the gelatine mixture into the hot cream mixture until dissolved, then stir in the Greek yogurt.
- Remove saucepan from heat, and pour mixture through a sieve to get rid of any clumps or loose bits from the vanilla pod.
- Divide mixture accordingly among ramekins.
- Cover ramekins with cling wrap before refrigerating until set. (Refrigerate them overnight, or for at least 6 hours.)
- To serve, dip the bottom of the ramekin in warm water before turning it on a plate. Garnish, and you’re done!