Dec 19, 2013

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberries


Easy, light & luscious and perfect to make for the Holidays if you need a dessert to impress!

Vanilla beans, strawberries and cream make this luscious dessert worthy of a standing O!

Panna cotta is one of my FAVORITE desserts when prepared properly. It’s such an easy dessert to make and it can easily be adapted with many different flavor profiles. Although it's usually made very rich with heavy cream, I've been able to play around with the ingredients through the years to give this dessert that same lusciousness, yet using much less cream.

If you need a dessert this Holiday season to impress your guests, I promise, this one is it! And since it needs at least four to five hours to set it's the perfect dessert to make a day or two ahead.

I've tried so many panna cotta recipes from blogs through the years that looked so beautiful, only to be disappointed. Perhaps I'm a bit of panna cotta snob, because I know what a good panna cotta should taste like. It shouldn't have the texture of jello, instead it should be creamy and smooth, almost pudding like in texture. I've tested this particular recipe FIVE times to get it perfect, so if you plan on trying this – don't change a thing!

For diabetics, yes, this will work with Splenda or other sweeteners, and of course cut back on even more calories. So go grab a spoon and savor each spoonful of this vanilla treat.





Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberries
Servings: 6 • Size: 1 panna cotta with 1/4 cup strawberries • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 158 • Fat: 7 g • Protein: 5 g • Carb: 20 g • Fiber: 1 g • Sugar: 19 g
Sodium: 48 mg • Cholesterol: 25 mg
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups fat free milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split open
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin (Knox)
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half cream
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar

Directions

Place the fat free milk in a medium heavy saucepan with the seeds from the vanilla bean. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let it stand for 10 minutes to soften the gelatin grains. In the meantime, prepare an ice bath in a large plastic bowl.

After 10 minutes have passed, heat the saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 3 minutes. Add the half & half cream, 5 tbsp sugar and salt. Whisk well and and leave until the mixture is hot, but do not let it come to a boil, about 4 to 5 minutes.


Remove from the heat, then transfer the liquid into a clean, metal medium-sized bowl. Place the bowl in the ice bath to cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture begins to thicken.


Divide the mixture evenly, about 1/2 cup each between 6 small dessert bowls or glass parfait glasses, then cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

1 hour before serving, combine sugar and halved strawberries in a medium bowl, tossing to coat. Cover and chill, tossing strawberries occasionally. Drain strawberries before serving.

When ready to eat, spoon the fresh strawberries over the panna cotta and serve.

43 comments :

  1. This looks outstanding! I've never made panna cotta, but anything with vanilla bean has me totally intrigued. I could definitely see friends and family being impressed with this one at the holidays! And only 4 PP?! More cookies for me . . . :)

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  2. It's seriously good, and the vanilla bean makes it extra special!

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  3. Thank you for this post! I am obsessed with vanilla bean. Definitely making this over the holidays!

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  4. I really can't wait to try this as I love panna cotta but have never considered making it myself.

    (also, you might want to change 'partical' to particular (unless you really meant partical, then disregard this edit)).

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    Replies
    1. thanks for catching my typo!

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    2. partical is not a word anyway...

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  5. This may be a dumb question, but where do you get a vanilla bean? This sounds delicious! Thanks.

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    1. It's usually in the spice aisle, McKormick sells it in a glass jar, as well as other brands. I would ask someone in your supermarket.

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  6. This is such a gorgeous, easy and elegant dessert. Love it!

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  7. Can you use fat free half and half?

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    Replies
    1. Yes and it'll bring the points value down with no change in flavor/texture

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    2. I haven't tried it, but I am guessing it would be ok. It really bothers my stomach since it's highly processed.

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    3. Mine did not turn out right. I used fat free half and half, however it was like jello. Disappointed since the vanilla was pricey.

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    4. Perhaps it was the fat free half & half since it's not real cream. It shouldn't have the texture of jello.

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  8. yum yum! if only I could find vanilla bean around here I've been really unsuccessful so far. :( thanks for an awesome recipe! xx. gigi. www.gigikkitchen.com

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    Replies
    1. You can get vanilla bean mail order from Penzey's (or at a store if you're lucky enough to have one in your area) - usually a much more reasonable price than supermarket.

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  9. Your petite dishware is perfect, do you recall a brand name or a link to where I might them? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Sorry I don't. Probably bought them at Home Goods

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    2. Crate & Barrel just had something very similar on sale, with free shipping!

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  10. Oh boy, I need to try this! The first time I had Panna Cotta was at Il Tesoro in Goshen, and it was divine... and loaded with fat & calories I'm sure. I'll have to give this a try and see how it turns out.

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  11. I am in love with your pictures! Have you taken photography classes?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Only in high school but not for food.

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  12. Oh my gosh, I've never had panna cotta, but I definitely want to give this a shot!!

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  13. I just recently discovered I am lactose intolerant. Can almond milk or other lactose free milks be used?

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    1. Yes, although I haven't tested it so the amounts of gelatin may vary a bit.

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    2. Hi, I've made lactose free versions with almond milk and it worked out great, just add a 1/4 teaspoon more gelatin. Coconut milk can be used as well with great results.

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    3. One more thing, chai tea bags make a great flavoring

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  14. I had panna cotta for the first time this week. Can't wait to try this recipe.

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  15. Absolutely beautiful, Gina! I've already shared this one with a few friends who I know would ADORE a good panna cotta recipe! :)

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  16. I wonder if you could use vanilla almond milk?

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  17. can you plz tell me what is half and half cream Im from Australia ..thanks

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  18. how long will this stay in the refrig? and of course another amazing post

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  19. i just made this and mine did not thicken up in the ice bath, I used 1% do you think that is why?

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    Replies
    1. It won't thicken until you refrigerate it for at least 4 to 5 hours.

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  20. Can Fat Free Half & Half be used in this recipe?

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  21. I made this last night for dinner, and I loved it. I used 2% milk and stevia and it worked out great. Took a bit longer to thicken up, and had to stick it in the freezer to hurry up the setting process, but it turned out great. Thank you so much for this!

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  22. Madet this as a light but elegant finish to New Year's Eve dinner. It turned out great, but I was worried because it did not thicken AT ALL, either on the stove or in the ice bath. It was still completey liquid when I poured it into parfait glasses. One hour later it was no better, and I thought it was a lost cause. But sure enough…after about 5-6 hours it firmed up beautifully. I made it the day before we were going to eat it, and I'm glad I did, because otherwise it would not have been ready. Great recipe! My first panna cotta and I must say it was lovely.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it needs to set for a few hours, so glad you enjoyed it!!!

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  23. i am vegan and don't eat gelatin products. i wonder if this could be made using xantham gum or agar agar flakes?

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  24. Mine never jelled. Right now it's just cold soup.

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