GREEK YOGHURT PANNA COTTA WITH STICKY APRICOTS INSPIRED BY GIOVANNA RYAN
Giovanna talked about so many delicious sounding dishes it was tricky to choose which one I wanted to experiment with and get inspired by. As a huge panna cotta fan I loved the idea of a greek yoghurt panna cotta, what a great twist. Greek Yoghurt is such a versatile ingredient and I love using it in my cooking, whether in cakes, for a dip, as a drizzle, as a dressing, or as a marinade. It's so useful to have in the fridge!
I experimented with using milk rather than cream and whilst it was good (somewhat lighter), I am of the opinion that if you are going to do a panna cotta you may as well go the whole hog and use cream. Panna Cotta is one of mine and my mama's guilty pleasures, which we sometimes eat together...just because. Although we tend to buy them for these occasion, as even though they are very easy to make it does mean you have access to more than one panna cotta at a time, and if you have the very low levels of self-control we possess...Well let's just say that can be dangerous.
I think because panna cottas involve gelatine many people think they are hard to make. This could not be further from the truth. Gelatine is not scary to use at all, it's really straight forwards. I always plump for the sheet gelatine over the powder, and really it is a cinch to use. In all honestly panna cottas take about 5 minutes actual cooking time, and even then that's if you are taking your time! I like making mine in very lightly greased dariole moulds which I then turn out, but any little jar or coffee cup will work too. I always grease mine if I want to serve them unmoulded as it's better for my nerves. But they look (and taste) equally as good when served in the little pots too.
These sticky apricots have been on my catering menus for many years as they go beautifully with lots of different things. I serve them with bircher muesli for breakfast meetings, or with pistachio cakes and I love them with rice pudding. I always use dried apricots which are very easy to get hold of, and these just go beautifully with the greek yoghurt panna cotta.
I am very much into the idea of puddings you could legitimately have for breakfast, and this could well be going on my special brunch menu. Watch this space. I don't think we can pretend it's healthy, but it's delicious and that counts for something.
For the apricots:
180g dried apricots
1 cup honey
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/4 cup water
For the panna cotta:
400ml double cream
400g Greek Yoghurt (full fat)
100g sugar, or honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 leaves of gelatine
Lightly grease your moulds with a little vegetable oil.
Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water until it's soft. Once it's soft drain off the water and leave to one side.
Pour the cream into a saucepan and add the sugar. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the softened gelatine and whisk to make sure it's completely dissolved, and then add the yoghurt and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour into your prepared moulds and leave to set in the fridge. I always allow a good 4 hours if I am unmoulding the panna cottas, but if not you can get away with 2 hours. For peace of mind I do always tend to make them the night before.
For the apricots, this couldn't be simpler. Pop all the ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for just 5 minutes or so until the apricots are lovely and soft and the glaze has reduced. Leave to cool.