a light finish

if you want an easy, 5-minute prep-time dessert, then stop looking. not only is this dessert easy & quick, its light and delicious: panna cotta with balsamic strawberries.

panna cotta is a great dessert for dinner parties because everything can be made ahead of time. no fussing with ovens or doing things last minute.

this recipe came from Ina Garten, my favorite Food Network chef. the original recipe can be found here.

there is no baking. no sifting. no way to mess it up, really.

i noted that the vanilla bean seeds are optional. i couldn’t find one at publix, so i just was generous with the vanilla extract. it tasted great!

also, don’t be turned off by the balsamic & pepper  mixed with the strawberries. it turns out very sweet & surprising!


panna cotta with balsamic strawberries

serves 4


  • 1/2 packet or 1 tsp. gelatin powder (unflavored)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cold water
  • 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split with beans removed (optional)
  • 1/3 c. sugar, plus 1 Tbsp.
  • 4 c. fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • fresh lemon zest


in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on 1 1/2 Tbsp. 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 and refrigerate uncovered until cold. cover with plastic wrap to 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.

–before going into the fridge–

–et voila–


Panna Cotta with Strawberries

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