Yogurt-Brown Sugar Panna Cotta with Balsamic Fruit

Even though I have confessed recently to not using my cookbooks as often as I should (hence the need for me to stay off Pinterest and Google for a while), I absolutely could not live without my big yellow and green Gourmet cookbooks.


Yes, these would be two things I would run out of the house with to save if (God forbid) we ever had a fire.  (It goes without saying that this would be after The Hubs and the cat were safe.)

Yes, these two would accompany me to a deserted island if I were to be exiled.   (Strange choice, I know, but I know that Ruth Reichl would keep me eating gourmet coconut smoothies and seafood ceviche).

Yes, these two things will be left to the favored niece, nephew or godchild in my will.

Do you understand how important these books are to me?


If you will allow me to now segue.


I dined at a restaurant in Norman, Oklahoma recently that prides itself in all things local.   In fact, that is the name of the restaurant, Local .    I had a delicious kale Caesar salad  and a Green Chile Chowder with roasted corn, potatoes, green chiles, and a corn-jalapeno madeline.    Delicious!!!!

It is a gem in a very  nondescript shopping center.     I loved all of the meal but was most  looking forward to dessert:   Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries.      The panna cotta was delicious but it was overpowered by the balsamic.   In fact, I think they just threw some strawberries on top and poured on vinegar.     (Please note that otherwise, this was a delicious and relaxing lunch.   I recommend this place!)


Now back to the Gourmet cookbook homage.


Upon my return home,  I still had a hankerin’ for some rich balsamic fruit atop a creamy panna cotta.    I got out the Gourmet cookbook and was not disappointed there.   I found a recipe for Yogurt and Brown Sugar Panna Cotta with Grape Gelee.

The gelee sounded wonderful but I was topping my version with balsamic strawberries, by golly.   I halved the original recipe and used Greek yogurt.

 Yogurt-Brown Sugar Panna Cotta
Based on Yogurt and Brown Sugar Panna Cotta with Grape Gelee

Serves 4
1/2 c. heavy cream, divided
1 t. unflavored gelatin
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 c. plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1 T. sweet red wine (The original recipe called for Grappa.   Having none, I used some over-the-hill dessert wine.)
dash of fine sea salt

Have all of your ingredients measured out.

Place 1/4 c. cream in a small, heavy sauce pan and sprinkle with gelatin.     Whisk it in and let it set for 1 minute.

Bring cream to a simmer over moderate heat.   (It may be thick at this point, but just slowly heat and whisk until it is more liquid.)   Add remaining cream and brown sugar and whisk.  Return to a simmer, stirring often until sugar is dissolved.   Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together yogurt, wine and sea salt.    Pour in cream mixture and whisk until well-combined.   Pour mixture into four ramekins, cover and let chill until firm (at least 8 hours).

Unmold by running a thin sharp knife around the sides of each ramekin to loosen.   Dip in very warm water if necessary.   Plate.

Serve alone or with balsamic fruit like strawberries or grapes or peaches.   Use this glaze.

“One Hundred Year Old” Balsamic Vinegar

1/3  c. balsamic vinegar
1/8 c. brown sugar

Place in a small heavy sauce pan.   Stir until sugar is dissolved.   Simmer for about 10 minutes or until reduced by half.   Mixture will be quite thick and syrupy.  IMAG3738 (1)

Glaze halved grapes, sliced strawberries, or grilled peaches for a supreme taste explosion (and a fine topping for this dessert).

I learned this tip from Chef Jennifer from one of our first cooking classes.


Dessert is served.

This is a keeper of a recipe and I plan on trying it again with some honey flavored Greek yogurt (my favorite) and decreasing the amount of brown sugar.   Then again, I may use this same recipe and cut out the brown sugar all together and use honey to sweeten the plain yogurt.   Hmmm…the possibilities are endless.

For more  excellent recipes from the Gourmet books that inspired some most delicious dishes, click on the following:

Kale Risotto with Caramelized Onions

Colorful Roasted Pickled Peppers

Lavender Sugar Cookies

Rustic Garlic Soup

Garlic-Rosemary Jelly

Pickled Carrots


Please remember Abigail in your thoughts today.


Abby, these are two beautiful colored moths I photographed in my sister’s garden last summer. I know they are not virtual flowers, but I hope these (like the wienermobile) will make you smile today. 🙂

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