Friday, June 13, 2014

Strawberry-Yogurt Panna Cotta

It's strawberry season here in Oregon and one thing that's has kept everyone waiting is the arrival of Hood strawberries. Hood is one of Oregon strawberry varieties that produces a deep red color and very sweet taste.  Its season is very short so time to pick or buy is right now.  Since it's highly perishable, the sooner you eat them the better.

I had a chance to go to Unger Farms in Cornelius last Saturday and picked quite a load of strawberries under the glorious summery sun.  Its size were ranging from quite small to large, but what's irresistible was the color and the taste.  It was deep red all the way through and smackingly sweet and juicy, and these batches from this farm are superb.  Right away I processed most of the berries for freezing because I want to have a steady supply until winter, and the rest were divided into jams and for eating.  My family loves having homemade strawberry jam at hand and I make sure those jams will last till next summer.  Some people like making freezer jam because it's much easier than doing regular jam, but sadly, I don't own an extra freestanding freezer.  My freezer in the fridge is always full of something else, possibly food.

It's been a while since I made panna cotta, and I thought this recipe fit what I wanted to make with the strawberries.  I wanted something cold but creamy and tasted like strawberries, yet I didn't want to make ice cream because there's not an inch spared in my freezer anymore.  I was captivated by the pinky hue of the panna cotta and you know panna cotta can feel luxurious in the mouth if made softer.  So here is the recipe, I'm hoping you'll be able to make it before the season is over.

Strawberry-Yogurt Panna Cotta

Makes 6 1/2-cup servings

4 cups roughly chopped fresh strawberries

2 1/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin

1 cup cream

1/4 cup sugar, or to taste

1/2 cup plain full-fat yogurt

1/4 teaspoon rosewater

Pinch salt

Strawberry slices, to serve

Puree the strawberries in a blender of food processor and pour them through a fine-mesh sieve.  You should be left with approximately 1 1/2 cups liquid.  Sprinkle the gelatin over this strawberry juice in a wide, shallow bowl.  Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften.

Warm the cream and sugar in a 2-quart or larger saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then turn down the heat and whisk in the strawberry juice and gelatin.  Whisk thoroughly over low heat until the gelatin has completely dissolved.  Taste to check sweetness; if necessary, add more sugar.  Turn off the heat and whisk in the yogurt, rosewater; if using, and salt.

Divide this mixture among six ramekins or dessert glasses.  Cover the glasses lightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate the panna cotta and let it set for at least 2 hours--but preferably overnight, especially if you plan to unmold it.  The panna cotta can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.  Serve garnished with strawberry slice.

Note:  To unmold panna cotta easily, grease the ramekins or dessert glasses very lightly with flavorless vegetable oil, then wipe most of the toil out with a clean paper towel.

Source:  Bakeless Sweet by Faith Durand