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 • Points +: 4 pts • Smart Points: 7
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.