Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Longer Linger

Hunger pangs, that's how it begins. Our bellys work better than any alarm clock. We know when to eat, and we know it is usually pretty often. As sundown approaches, we begin the mental process of determining what will land on everyone's plate for dinner - right down to the...Dessert. Dessert is always a priority for supper. Sure, we have to figure out the main course, the protein that feeds our muscles. Which hunk of meat will it be - chicken, beef, pork? The side vegetables are equally as important. Come on, really - no one wants a bland string bean. Ultimately, the dinner has to be cohesive and meld together. The tastes must compliment each other, yet not be overpowering.

And, then there is dessert.

I'm not sure if you can blame it on the rampant sweet tooths in my house, or just the childhood magic that always surrounded dessert. My guess, it is the magic, the magic that can never leave the hearts of dessert lovers around the world. Desserts can be richly sweet, creamy, fruity, chocolately, nutty, smooth, cold, hot, utterly delicious.... that always, always linger.

So, as we were deciding our dinner menu, the conversation wasn't complete without deciding which sweet nothing, which sweet something, would linger on our palette after dinner. If we were lucky, it would linger, and linger, and be the sole inspiration of a daydream the next day, wishing for just a taste floating lightly on our tongue. Hoping for a longer linger...

Tonight, the winner was something refreshing, light and delicious. And, are you ready for the irony? It is a healthy concoction!! No joke. This is no laughing matter. This is a dessert that is waistline friendly and mother approved! Sweet, healthy, and tasty!

Let us linger, Lemon Panna Cotta, oh my!

Panna Cotta is an Italian phrase that means "cooked cream". It is a creamy dessert that is a cross between a gelatin and cream brulee. This Italian dessert comes from the Northern Italian region of Piedmont. It is eaten all over Italy and, thankfully, all over the world.

This recipe is crazy easy. The ingredients are quite simple and it comes together quickly, which is always a bonus. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can have success with this recipe. I promise, the the memory will linger all summer long.

Lemon Panna Cotta

1 1/2 cups Greek-style yogurt
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup each heavy cream and sugar
1 pt strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 Tbsp honey
Additional honey, optional

1. Coat six 6-oz custard cups or ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk yogurt, half-and-half, lemon zest and vanilla in large bowl.

2. Pour lemon juice in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it; let stand 5 minutes to soften.

3. Heat cream and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in softened gelatin until dissolved, and stir quickly into yogurt mixture until blended.

4. Divide mixture into prepared custard cups (about 1/2 cup in each). Cover; refrigerate about 4 hours or overnight.

5. To serve: Toss strawberries with honey; let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes. Run a small knife around each panna cotta, shake gently and invert onto serving plate to unmold. Serve with strawberries and an additional drizzle of honey, if desired.

From Woman's Day July 8, 2008


Lori said...

I have been wanting to make panna cotta for weeks now. I just have to do it! I would love it with some fresh strawberries. Looks yummy and creamy!

Sophie said...

We'd like to invite you to participate in our July berry recipe contest. All competitors will be placed on our blogroll, and the winner will receive a fun prize! Please email me,, if you're interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details. (Click on my name in the message header link to visit our blog. :)