This Vanilla Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries is my favorite dessert to make for a dinner party. It's beautiful, you can do all of the cooking ahead of time, and it is absolutely delicious!!
You may be surprised to see that in this recipe, strawberries are soaked in balsamic vinegar and black pepper? Well just wait until you taste the incredible flavors of this unlikely combination. Absolutely wonderful!
The gorgeous presentation of this dish along with the winning combination of sweet, tangy, peppery and creamy, make for a deliciously exciting finish for a great meal.
What is panna cotta?
- Panna Cotta is a classic Italian dessert made with gelatin and cream. The cream is heated, sweetened, and flavored with vanilla or chocolate or whatever is desired.
- Panna cotta resembles pudding and flan, but it's eggless. It's set with gelatin instead of eggs.
How to make vanilla panna cotta with balsamic strawberries
Panna cotta looks fancy but it's a cinch to make!
- Make the Panna Cotta: Mix gelatin with water in a small bowl. Whisk half the cream, yogurt, vanilla extract and vanilla beans together in a medium bowl. Heat the remaining cream with sugar, until the sugar melts. Add gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve. Pour the hot cream-gelatin mixture into the cold cream-yogurt mixture and whisk to combine. Pour the panna cotta into ramekins, cover and chill, until ready to serve.
- Make the Balsamic Strawberries and Serve: Thinly slice the strawberries and toss them with balsamic vinegar, sugar and black pepper. Leave them to macerate, at room temperature, for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour. Un-mold the panna cottas and tilt them onto individual dessert plates. Top them with balsamic strawberries and serve.
Because this recipe uses vanilla extract as well as freshly scraped vanilla seeds from a vanilla bean, it has the most wonderfully intense vanilla flavor.
Vanilla beans are an expensive indulgence. If you want to get a little extra mileage from your vanilla bean after you've scraped out the seeds, you can soak it in a mini bottle of bourbon or vodka for a month or more to make homemade vanilla extract or you can bury it in sugar to make vanilla sugar.
If you've never soaked strawberries in balsamic vinegar, prepare to be delighted. They bring out the best in each other. Black pepper adds a unique and exciting kick.
Panna Cotta Make Ahead Tips
One of the many great things about this panna cotta recipe is that much of the prep work can be done well in advance of your dinner.
- You can mix up your panna cotta, pour it into ramekins and chill it over night or for up to two days.
- Cut up the strawberries a few hours ahead and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.
- A half hour to an hour before serving dessert, toss the strawberries with balsamic vinegar, sugar and black pepper, and let them macerate for at least a half hour and up to an hour.
- Transfer the panna cottas to dessert plates and, just before serving, spoon the strawberries on top, garnish them with a sprig of mint or basil, and serve them.
The sweet and sour tanginess of the balsamic strawberries is a wonderful compliment to the creamy vanilla panna cotta.
The credit for this recipe goes to Ina Garten. It's minimally adapted from a recipe in her cookbook Barefoot Contessa At Home.
Here's the recipe for Vanilla Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print