Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta

Lemon panna cotta.

Lemon panna cotta.

Panna Cotta is a dessert that I’ve been wanting to make for such a long time, but just never seemed to get around to it.  I have collected several recipes for making it, all just a little different from each other.

Panna Cotta, which means “cooked cream” is Italian in origin, and can be made with milk, cream, half and half, buttermilk, or any combination of these.   I also have a recipe  using yogurt.  Panna cotta is a cool, silky, creamy dessert that is often served with fruit or caramel sauce.  The higher the fat content of your base liquid, the richer the dessert will be, and of course, more calorie laden.

A light refreshing dessert.

A light refreshing dessert.

Happily this is a dessert that can be adjusted in terms of calories and fat content.  The recipe I’m offering here is a lighter version that makes good use of lemon for flavoring and still produces the silky texture of the classic with a pleasing hit of sweet and tang.  Meyer lemon–a lemon-orange hybrid–is sweeter than conventional lemon.  If you don’t have access to Meyer lemons, you can use a regular lemon and enjoy a dessert that’s a bit less sweet.  I used a regular lemon in my panna cotta and it had a nice mild lemon flavor, and was neither tart nor overly sweet,—-just right!

Silky, smooth, creamy and cool.

Silky, smooth, creamy and cool.

I also sliced some strawberries, added about 2 Tablespoons of sugar and 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar to them, and then served a few spooned over the panna cotta for a very pretty presentation.

MEYER LEMON PANNA COTTA

Servings   4

Requires just a few ingredients.

Requires just a few ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Meyer  or regular lemon
  • 1/2 cup  plus 3 Tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup half and half  ( I used light cream)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, ( 1 envelope)
  • 1  1/2 cups reduced-fat buttermilk
  • cooking spray
  • Mint leaves and lemon rind strips (optional)

Directions:

1.  Remove rind from lemon using a vegetable peeler, avoiding white pith.  Squeeze 3 Tablespoons juice from the lemon and save.

Peel the lemon very thinly to flavor the milk and squeeze the lemon for juice.

Peel the lemon very thinly to flavor the milk and squeeze the lemon for juice.

2.  Combine lemon rind, 1/2 cup milk, half and half, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan;  bring to a simmer over medium heat ( do not boil).  Remove pan from heat;  cover and let stand 20 minutes.   Discard lemon rind.

Heating the milk mixture with the lemon peel.

Heating the milk mixture with the lemon peel.

3.  Sprinkle gelatin over remaining 3 tablespoons milk in a small bowl, and let stand at least 10 minutes.

4.  Return half and half mixture to medium heat; cook for 1 minute or until very hot.  Add the gelatin mixture, stirring with a whisk until dissolved (about 1 minute).  Stir in buttermilk and 3 Tablespoons lemon juice.

5.  Lightly spray  4 ( 6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups.  Divide the lemon mixture among the cups.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

IMG_3961

6.  To serve:  run a knife around outside edges of panna cotta.  Place a plate upside down on top of each cup; invert onto plate.  Garnish with mint and lemon rind, if desired.    Or you may wish to serve with a fruit sauce or sliced fruit as I did.

Panna cotta served with sliced strawberries.

Panna cotta served with sliced strawberries.

Nutritional Profile:    Calories  185;   Fat  6.3 g.;  Protein  7 g.;  Carb  26 g.;  Sodium 258 mg.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

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