Fortunately for me (and you, by extension) for Christmas, Santa had brought me the Dec 2011/Jan 2012 issue of Delicious magazine, which had a recipe for Yogurt Panna Cotta with Cherries. I don't much like cherries, but I figured that blueberries could easily be substituted for cherries. I was right. Really, any type of fruit could be used for a sauce, but I think something with a little bit of tartness best compliments the rich flavour of the panna cotta.
Yogurt Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) thickened cream
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
3 gelatine leaves (recipes calls for 2 titanium strength leaves, but I used a different type)
500g thick Greek-style yoghurt
1/3 (75g) cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water
1 punnet fresh blueberries
- Mix vanilla seeds and pod, cream and sugar in saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir until sugar is dissolved, brining to just below boiling point.
- Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes.
- Soak gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes to soften.
- Remove vanilla pod from mixture and discard.
- Squeeze excess moisture from vanilla leaves and whisk into warm cream mixture until dissolved.
- Add yoghurt.
- Strain (I used a mesh seive) and divide into containers. Makes ~4 cups of panna cotta.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for ~3 hours.
- Combine caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, heat over medium until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Add blueberries, mash slightly (I used a potato masher to really release the colour and flavour, this isn't super necessary).
- Remove from heat and allow flavours to settle.
- Best served room temperature or cold.
- Dip the base of molds into hot water for a few (~10?) seconds to loosen, then invert onto serving plates.
- Drizzle sauce on top.
* Something important to keep in mind about this recipe is that it involves gelatine. This is only the second time I've ever made something with gelatine (I made Champagne Jellies for dessert on Christmas day), and it's confusing. First, there's all sorts of different KINDS and strengths of gelatine - powdered or leaves? Platinum or gold strength? It's confusing. All I can recommend is that if your recipe calls for gelatine leaves, buy those instead of the powder, and vice versa because the conversion is confusing (I think it's about 1 1/2 - 2 tsp (heaping) of powder to a leaf, but who the eff knows). If this is your first time playing with gelatine leaves, I recommend getting your hands dirty first, so to speak. What you need to do (and the instructions should be on the packaging anyway), is fill a cereal bowl (or similar sized mixing bowl) with cool water, and dunk your gelatine leaf in the water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and then pick it up and squeeze out the excess water. It has a tendency to clump, which I find makes it more difficult to evenly mix into the recipe. This gooey-sticky plastic-y sheet is what you're mixing into your recipe to allow it to set.
* Another point for this recipe, and any other gelatine based recipes is about gelatine molds. At your local kitchen-ware stores you can buy gelatine molds in a variety of shapes and sizes and materials, and I'm pretty sure they have neat little features to make your life easier. However, if you're like me, meaning a little bit cheap, you don't need these specialty containers. I have used ramekins and small glass (probably Pyrex) mixing bowls to make individual portion-sized servings. For this recipe, you'll want to wrap the top with saran wrap, but the other trick I learned, since my ramekins don't stack and my fridge is tiny, is to use the tops from tupperware containers (or yogurt containers, or even cardboard probably) to balance on the top of a ramekin so you can stack another one on top.
This was a massive hit, and it kept well in the fridge for several days (the last one was eaten maybe 5 days later, and it was still delicious).
It's been a good month for fresh fruit for me, I've got a bag full of ripe plums as well a bunch of rhubarb which I stewed using this recipe from the blog, some strawberries, more blueberries, and a big juicy bunch of grapes. We've been enjoying the rhubarb over greek yoghurt, and the blueberries and grapes have been frozen. Frozen grapes make for a good snacky food.
Also - in looking for a good photo of the magazine's recommended plating, I couldn't find this exact panna cotta recipe online, but I did find a recipe for Panna Cotta with boozy berries, which is quite similar, though probably less rich.