Skinny yogurt panna cotta with honey and oranges. I think this was the highlight of yesterday’s wonderful Easter dinner for me.
The meal was great. We had mint glazed slow cooked lamb, turkey breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and a roasted vegetable medley of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, brussels sprouts and mushrooms.
But dessert was spectacular – smooth, creamy and refreshing. And a lot lighter and lower in calories than most panna cotta since it was made with nonfat evaporated milk and plain nonfat Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream.
What is panna cotta? If you’ve never had it, you are in for a treat, especially if you’re a fan of creamy desserts.
Panna cotta, which means “cooked cream” in Italian, is a silky custard that uses gelatin, instead of eggs for setting/binding, so it’s a lot quicker and easier to make. All you need to do is warm the milk enough to melt the gelatin and dissolve the sugar.
And then pour the mixture it into custard cups, ramekins or glasses and refrigerate for a few hours until it’s set. Then you can eat it right from the dish, or for a fancier presentation, invert it onto a dessert plate.
Most panna cotta recipes call for heavy cream, which is high in fat and calories, and sometimes totally worth the splurge. But if you can make a version that is just as delicious with fewer calories and a lot less fat, why not?
This recipe for Lighter Panna Cotta comes from Camilla Saulsbury, author of Panna Cotta: Italy’s Elegant Custard Made Easy, a cookbook with 100 recipes for panna cotta. Made with plain yogurt and fat free evaporated milk, it’s simple yet special with a touch of ground coriander and orange blossom water, and weighs in with just 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus . It’s creamy and satisfying served with orange sections and a sprig of mint.
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- ¼ cup honey
- ⅔ cup canned fat free evaporated milk
- 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt or plain low fat yogurt
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- Two large navel oranges, peeled and cut into segments
- 4 fresh mint sprigs (optional)
- In a small bowl, add the water and then sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let stand 5 minutes until dissolved.
- In a medium saucepan stir together the honey and evaporated milk and heat until the mixture is hot, but not boiling.
- Add the gelatin and stir until it is completely dissolved.
- Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the yogurt, orange blossom water, and coriander until smooth.
- Divide the mixture evenly among 4 individual custard cups OR decorative glasses.
- Cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours until set.
- To serve, immerse the bottom half of each custard cup in hot water for about 15 seconds. Then run a clean small knife around edge to loosen.
- Invert onto dessert plate (Note: if you are using glasses, no unmolding is required).
- Serve with oranges and their juices. Garnish with mint if desired
Do you like to watch cooking videos? Here’ a great video of British food writer, chef, and Cook Yourself Thin television personality, Gizzi Erskine demonstrating how to make yogurt panna cotta with roasted rhubarb & ginger. (She uses leaf gelatin, but the powdered kind that is so readily available at the grocery store works just as well.)