Panna Cotta

Strawberries seem to light up any table. They were heralded as a symbol of wealth and well-being during the medieval ages, making them extremely popular. French nobility were known to bathe in strawberries, and the fruit is still used today to soothe certain skin ailments. The Seneca Indians associated the sweet red treat with spring and rebirth as it was the first fruit of the season. Roman legend has it that when Adonis died, Venus shed tears that transformed into heart-shaped strawberries when they fell to the earth.  The word itself comes from the term "strewn berry," due to the way the berries are strewn among the leaves of the plants.


Strawberries are a fantastic source of fiber, Vitamin C, and antioxidants, with eight strawberries providing even more of this nutrient than one orange.


This recipe for Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries comes to us courtesy of And while you’re enjoying this tasty dessert, make sure to have some Seventh Generation 100% Recycled Napkins on hand.

Panna Cotta


  • 1/2 packet (1 teaspoon) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 pints (4 cups) sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated lemon zest, for serving


In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on 1 1/2 tablespoons of cold water. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to dissolve.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of the cream, the yogurt, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds. Heat the remaining 3/4 cup of cream and the 1/3 cup of sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Off the heat, add the softened gelatin to the hot cream and stir to dissolve. Pour the hot cream-gelatin mixture into the cold cream-yogurt mixture and stir to combine. Pour into 4 (6 to 8-ounce) ramekins or custard cups and refrigerate uncovered until cold. When the panna cottas are thoroughly chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Combine the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and pepper 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving. Set aside at room temperature.
To serve, run a small knife around each dessert in the ramkein and dip the bottom of each ramekin quickly in a bowl of hot tap water. Invert each ramekin onto a dessert plate and surround the panna cotta with strawberries. Dust lightly with freshly grated lemon zest and serve.


photo: basheertome