A lot of my friends take interest in what dessert I might order at dinner, as if having gone to pastry school has somehow elevated my taste. I’m not sure that it has . . . but I do tend to order things that I know I couldn’t make easily. Notwithstanding, one of my favorite desserts to order is panna cotta, which is actually a very simple dessert. It is an Italian custard, basically a “cooked cream” thickened with gelatin. There is something just so perfect about the velvety smooth, subtly sweet custard with a little bit of wobble. It is a great pairing with so many different flavors, whether fruity or spiced.

This version that I made recently for my own housewarming adds Greek yogurt to the mix, which perhaps makes it less of a true panna cotta, but is still easy and yummy. I added a graham cracker base for texture and flavor, and topped with a pear-apricot puree miroir and some pear compote.

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta
Makes about four 4″ tarts or 5 oz. cups

  • 250 mL heavy cream
  • 40 g granulated sugar
  • 2 sheets gelatin, bloomed (about half a packet of powdered gelatin)
  • 175 g Greek yogurt
  • ½ t vanilla extract (or vanilla paste, or a whole vanilla bean)

  1. Heat half of the cream and all of the sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the bloomed gelatin.
  2. Whip the remaining cream lightly (no peaks should form).
  3. Combine the hot cream with the yogurt and stir with a spatula. Let cool.
  4. Add the lightly whipped cream to the mixture.
  5. Pour into molds and chill.
  6. Add optional flavoring on top (I mixed about equal parts Bosc apple puree with apricot nappage).
  7. Insert cute little spoon and enjoy!
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