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panna cotta 1

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert made with heavy cream. «Panna» means cream and  and «cotta» means cooked.  In panna cotta heavy cream is sweetened with sugar and thickened with gelatine.

A dessert such as Panna Cotta with heavy cream is surely delicious and very easy to make.  However, it is loaded with calories, as any other dessert.

In my  new cookbook apart from most of the Greek traditional recipes, I have added the recipes I was cooking while I was on diet in 2011, when I lost 18 kilos in 6 months.  Although in my cookbook I have not included the traditional Greek desserts, as that would need a new cookbook by itself, however, I have included a chapter with some desserts I have made over the years which are suitable either as a snack between meals or much lighter in calories.

Desserts are not excluded from the Mediterranean Diet, provided they are consumed in moderation.  This is the reason why they are on the top of the Pyramid.  This means that if you wish to lose weight, you are allowed to eat a dessert once in a while.  If it is a full fat dessert, you will have to try to have portion control and not go overboard.  You can either choose to eat a couple of tablespoons of a rich panna cotta or eat a filling dessert which is much healthier and with half the calories.

In this recipe which I made yesterday, I have used heavy cream and Greek yoghurt with 2% fat.  The cream is sweetened with honey which is a much healthier choice, which also adds flavour to the cream.  I don’t know a lot of people who don’t like Greek yoghurt with fruit and honey!

To make the dessert I used fresh cherries, which I froze during the summer.  I could have used Sour Cherry Spoon Sweet to serve on top of the panna cotta but since I had the fresh cherries, I made a light compote which I gelled.  If cherries are sweet, a very small amount of sugar is necessary to make a light syrup and some gelatine leaves to make the jelly.  If you want the syrup sweeter you can add some stevia.  If the jelly is left at room temperature, it will not gel completely, so it can be easily added on top.  Instead of cherry compote you can prepare a compote with other seasonal fruit, such as quince, apples, pears etc., or if you are living in the Southern hemishpere strawberries, apricots etc.

cherries

In order to speed up the procedure of gelling, you can put your glasses with the first amount of fruit, in a pyrex and fill it with ice cubes or cold water and refrigerate.

panna cotta chilling

In the cookbook I have a lot of of information on how to preserve vegetables and fruit.  This way you can enjoy fruit and vegetables during the seasons they are not available but also know that your food is all natural with no preservatives in them and it’s much cheaper than buying canned food.

I give you both the full-fat and low-fat versions of this dessert and this is up to you to decide which one you prefer to make.

Panna cotta 2

Panna Cotta

Preparation time:  5 minutes

Cooking time:   5 minutes

Chilling time: a few hours

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 gelatin leaves
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence (or 2 vanillin ampoules)
  • 1 lemon peel (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp neutral oil

Directions:

  1. Put the gelatine leaves in a bowl with tap water for five minutes.
  2. Put the heavy cream, sugar and lemon peel in a small pot and heat until lukewarm.  Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine leaves (without the water). Mix until they dissolve and finally mix in the vanilla.
  3. Wet a paper napkin with the oil  and lighly oil your cups or bowls.
  4. Remove the lemon peel and divide the mixture  in the bowls and put the cups back in the ice cubes.
  5. Refrigerate for a few hours.
  6. Unmold and serve with some fruit preserve on top.

Panna Cotta with Cherry Jelly

Low-fat Panna Cotta with Cherry Jelly

Serves: 8

  • Ingredients:
  • 250 ml heavy cream (you can reduce calories by using low fat cream)
  • 400 ml Greek Yoghurt 2%
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 lemon peel (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence (or 2 vanillin ampoules)
  • 7 gelatine leaves

Cherry Jelly

  •  500 grams frozen (or fresh) cherries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 gelatin leaves

Directions:

  1. Put the gelatine leaves in a bowl with tap water for five minutes.
  2. Put the water, sugar, lemon peel and cinnamon stick, in a small pot and boil for 5 minutes. (Alternatively use 1/4 cup leftover syrup from fruit preserves which dilute with 1/4 cup water, to make it less sweet.  Put it on the heat and boil  for a minute).
  3. Put the cherries in a 2 litre pot and add either of the two syrups.  Bring to boiling point and cook the cherries for 2 – 3 minutes, pressing a few to release their juice.  Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel.   Add the gelatine leaves and mix until they are dissolved.
  4. Add 4 – 5 cherries in each bowl (I prefer to make it in small glasses) with a few tablespoons syrup.
  5. Put them in the fridge and wait until they set.
  6. Put the gelatine leaves in a bowl with tap water for five minutes.
  7. Put the cream with honey on the heat and when it becomes lukewarm remove from the heat.
  8. Add the gelatine leaves and mix to dissolve.  Add the vanilla essence and mix.
  9. Set aside until it cools.
  10. Add the yoghurt and using a hand mixer mix until they are incorporated.
  11. Divide the mixture over the jelly leaving space to add more cherries on top.
  12. Refrigerate until panacotta sets.  Add more cherries with syrup on top and serve.


Panna cotta 5

In my new cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», I have included a low-fat panna cotta recipe which I made with light cream, yoghurt and cream cheese.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Χωρίς σχόλια on Healthier Greek-style Yoghurt Panna Cotta with Cherry Compote

  1. Ο/Η Rosa λέει:

    Heavenly! This a delightful dessert.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Ο/Η PG λέει:

    loving this cherry gelly so much…ummmm! :-)

  3. Ο/Η ela λέει:

    Definitely on my to-do-list! Your panna cottas look wonderful :) ela

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