But even so, I do indulge in sweet treats, and more than occasionally. When I do, it's the rich-creamy-whipped-cream variety that has the most appeal. Simple is best; and if the dessert has lemon, it goes up a decided notch. When I first had this gorgeous lemony panna cotta at a friend's house, I knew it would immediately become part of my repetoire. Three steps, and a bit of planning, and I have a delicious treat that gives me pause before reaching for the cheese tray.
Lemon Panna Cotta
This make ahead dessert is light, so it's perfect after a rich meal. Served in pretty cups instead of ramekins, it becomes a beautiful centrepiece for a brunch gathering. Top the panna cotta with fresh strawberries scented with balsamic vinegar.
1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
¼ c cold water
⅔ c sugar
2 c whipping cream, divided
⅓ c lemon juice
1 tbsp grated lemon peel
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1 c Greek style yogurt
1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small saucepan. Let sit five minutes. Warm gently until gelatin dissolves.
2. In another medium saucepan, gently heat sugar and half the cream. Cook just until sugar dissolves. Stir in lemon juice, peel and vanilla paste. Whisk in dissolved gelatin and cool 10 minutes. Whisk in remaining cream and yogurt.
3. Divide mixture between 8 ramekins. Chill until set, at least two hours.
While the panna cotta is chilling, prepare a fresh strawberry topping.
1½ c fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp sugar (more to taste)
Mix the berries, vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Set aside to macerate. When ready to serve the panna cotta, spoon some berries and their juices on top of each dish.