I Love Panna Cotta in the Spring Time

I invited two girlfriends over the other day and made pancakes using my new Organic Blue Cornmeal Pancake Mix. Yes, they thoroughly enjoyed our pancake lunch...that also featured bacon.

Pancakes, maple syrup and bacon are a magnificent combination...no matter what time of day it is!

But now I've got half a container of buttermilk leftover.

And I hate for it to go to waste.

So for all of you who might be in the same boat (hello, Kim!!), here's what I say...when you've got leftover buttermilk make panna cotta!

The truth is I love flan, but it's not the healthiest dessert choice. Made with tons of egg yolks and lots of sugar, flan tastes great but I avoid it at all cost because I know what's in it...

I think panna cotta is a great alternative. It's basically an Italian flan, but it's made with buttermilk, yogurt, fat-free milk, a little bit of sugar and unflavored gelatin. Of course, once you get the recipe down, you can modify it by adding seasonal or frozen fruits and/or fruit juice or topping it with a fruit coulis of sorts.

To tell you the truth, I love panna cotta so much, I've got an entire file dedicated to panna cotta recipes, but this is a great basic one to start with.

And I think that once you try panna cotta, you'll never miss all the eggs and sugar! It takes less than 10 minutes to throw it all together and, at just 120 calories per serving and less than .5 grams of fat, I think you'll thank me profusely for turning you on to such a simple and delicious dessert!

Buen provecho!
Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey
The Cowgirl Gourmet via Food & Wine, May 2008 recipe

Print Recipe

Makes 6 servings

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 Tablespoon water
1 cup fat-free milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt*
2 Tablespoons honey
Fresh fruit for garnish when serving, if desired

In a small bowl, mix the gelatin with the water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer with the sugar and cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the softened gelatin until dissolved.

In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the yogurt. Whisk in the warm milk until smooth.
Pour the panna cotta mixture into six-4 oz. ramekins or small glasses and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
To serve, take a sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin and flip onto a plate to remove the panna cotta. You may need to run the knife around the bottom of the panna cotta as well so it comes out of the ramekin and onto the plate. Drizzle each panna cotta with some honey and garnish with fresh fruit (grapes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries), if desired.

*If you don't have Greek yogurt, you can make it by taking 1 1/4 cups plain, (preferrably organic) yogurt and placing it in a coffee filter-lined strainer (see below). Let it sit for 1 hour or more and voila—all the water has drained out and you've got a thick Greek yogurt (for a lot less money)!
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