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Yogurt Panna Cotta
(recipe, Anita Lo & Charlotte Druckman)
Yogurt can transform a common dessert into something completely new. You could, for example, use it in lieu of the ricotta in an Italian cheesecake to get something lighter and smoother than the New York-style version, whose stronger cream cheese lacks the signature gentle tartness that is specific to yogurt. That same levity and subtle tangy flavor can transform a panna cotta, which can be on the bland side, into something refreshing and surprising. This one is paired with dates that are soaked in Pedro Ximenez, a sweet Spanish sherry.
- 8 oz. full-fat yogurt, such as labne or Greek yogurt
- 1⅓ cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¾ tsp. unflavored gelatin, softened in 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1 cup pitted dates, julienned
- 1 cup (approximately) Pedro Ximenez sherry
- 2 Tbsp. rock candy
- Make the panna cotta: Heat the yogurt, cream, and sugar in a saucepan over medium to media-high heat until piping hot but not boiling. (Milk boils at 185 degrees, so you don't want it to get that hot.) Remove from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin, stirring to dissolve. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into six 4-ounce molds or small Pyrex dishes, and chill until set.
- Make the date sauce: In a saucepan, cover the dates liberally with sherry and simmer until the alcohol is cooked off and the mixture is juicy and syrupy. Let cool.
- To serve: Unmold a panna cotta in the center of each plate. Circle with the date sauce and sprinkle with a few pieces of rock candy.