Too Much Buttermilk, Not Enough Panna Cotta

After making the amazing Green Goddess salad dressing last week, every time I open refrigerator, the quart of organic buttermilk stares back at me with sad eyes that say, "Please don't forget about me for too long..." (Or perhaps it's my grandmother reminding me, "Waste not, want not.")

Despite the fact that buttermilk is already curdled, I don't want too much time to pass before using this lovely quart of Organic Valley buttermilk. I have made homemade buttermilk and even though it's super easy to make, David decided to buy the organic stuff for a change. I appreciate his thoughtfulness, but the reality is that a quart of buttermilk is quite a lot!

Every time I open the fridge, I quickly shut it and wonder, "What can I possibly do with all of that stuff?" Most every recipe calls for 1/2 or 3/4 cup of buttermilk--such as this--which does me absolutely no good. I need something that requires several cups of this golden liquid.

Alas, the thought of a buttermilk panna cotta fluttered by and, being that I flip over panna cotta, I thought this might be the answer to my problems. Or least quiet the buttermilk down a bit and make me feel better about using it for a good cause. Yes, panna cotta is an excellent cause!

If this problem of a leftover container of organic buttermilk ever daunts you, buttermilk panna cotta is a most delightful way to resolve the conundrum.

Buen provecho!

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
The Cowgirl Gourmet was inspired by Francis Lam's recipe for this winning dessert

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Being that I adore panna cotta, I think every panna cotta is the best I have ever had. Until the next one comes along. Today, this is the best panna cotta I have ever had. Creamy, luscious and yet light. The tang of the buttermilk combined with the lemon juice and zest, the sweetness of the sugar and the thickness of the cream and gelatin make this an unbelievable way to welcome spring back. 

Serves 5-6

2 Tablespoons warm water
1 package of powdered, unflavored gelatin (about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup heavy cream, organic
1/3 heaping cup of sugar (I used Ideal)
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (Meyer lemon juice, if you can)
2 cups all-natural buttermilk, organic
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the surface. Let sit about 5-10 minutes.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the heavy cream, sugar, salt, lemon zest and juice and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until sugar dissolves completely. Add the gelatin to the milk mixture and continue to heat, whisking constantly. Take it off the heat just before it comes to a simmer.

Transfer to a different bowl and allow to cool. Add the buttermilk and vanilla, stir and cool for 15 minutes.

Carefully pour the mixture into jelly jars or prepared ramekins (spray with non-stick cooking spray), wrap with plastic and chill for four hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator until set.

Serve in jelly jars or ramekins (or unmold by running a knife around the edge, then invert onto a plate). Serve topped with mascerated seasonal fruit.

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