Yogurt is one of my favorite ingredients to work with, and I use it regularly. I am particularly fond of thick, Greek-style yogurt and use the FAGE brand often because I like the rich and creamy consistency that it has – and the fact that it is all natural and high in protein doesn’t hurt either! I always have it on hand in my kitchen because it is so versatile. The tangy flavor of the yogurt compliments many different flavors, and works well in recipes from sauces to baked goods.
Panna cotta, or “cooked cream” in Italian, is a dessert that consists of a lightly sweetened cream mixture that is set with a small amount of gelatin. It is a delicate dessert, but very high in fat. I’ve had great results lightening up this Italian classic by using yogurt as the base instead of cream – and it is a great example of the versatility of the yogurt, because you might not expect to see it used in a recipe like this one!
Greek-style yogurt has the richness that you want in a panna cotta that you can’t really get from “regular” yogurt. The plain, lightly tangy flavor of FAGE Total is also a good base for other flavors. This particular panna cotta is flavored with passion fruit puree. Passion fruit is a tropical fruit that has a bold, almost citrusy flavor to it. It plays well with the natural tanginess of the yogurt and stands up to it easily. Passion fruit puree can be found in many grocery stores, either frozen or canned in the specialty foods section. You can also frequently find fresh passion fruit in the produce section, and can make your own puree by straining the seeds from the pulp of the fruit. Be sure to reserve a little of the passion fruit for garnishing the panna cottas, to add a little color and an extra punch of flavor before serving.
I used Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt in this recipe and still got a dessert that had a creamy consistency and was very satisfying. You can even use nonfat milk to make it even lighter! That said, you can use FAGE Total 2% or FAGE Total Classic Greek yogurt in this recipe, as well, so experiment with what you have on hand. Passion fruit works very well with the yogurt, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute other fruit purees or juices. Lemon adds a nice zestiness to this dish, and fresh orange juice also works well if you reduce the sugar in the panna cotta slightly.
If you’re a fan of FAGE Total, and like to experiment with it in your own kitchen (or want to play around with this recipe), you should also take a little time to enter a neat recipe contest that the brand is running. Visit the FAGE Total Plain Kitchen (http://www.fageusa.com/
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.), 21 years or older who did not purchase any equipment for the purposes of entering this contest. Enter Contest by: 10/9/12 at 12:00 p.m. ET. To enter and for Official Rules, including prize descriptions, visit www.fageusa.com/plainkitchen. Void where prohibited.
0% Passion Fruit Panna Cotta
1 1/2 cups FAGE Total 0% Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup passion fruit puree
1 1/4 tsp gelatin
3 tbsp sugar
passion fruit puree, to serve (optional)
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together yogurt and skim milk
In a small bowl, combine gelatin and passion fruit puree. Allow to stand for 3-4 minutes to bloom the gelatin. Microwave gelatin and passion fruit puree for about 30-45 seconds, until gelatin is melted. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Mixture should be very smooth. If the gelatin is not all dissolved, you can microwave the mixture for a few more seconds.
Whisk gelatin mixture thoroughly into yogurt. Divide evenly into six 4-oz ramekins or dessert cups refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Serve in ramekins, garnish with a drizzle of passion fruit puree, if desired.