Eeeeep! I’ve got the most delicious and unexpected red, white and blue dessert for your Fourth of July celebration, you guys. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I take dessert very seriously. If we’re talking summer desserts, I have always been monogamously committed to strawberry shortcake. (And by shortcake, I mean ever-so-slightly sweetened biscuits hot out of the oven topped with macerated strawberries and freshly whipped cream.) Recently, I found out I’ve had a rather large dessert blind spot and it’s changing my summer dessert priorities drastically.
A fantastic new restaurant recently opened in the next town over called Thistle Pig, owned by Chef Ben Hasty. My husband and I had a delicious dinner, and then ordered the gluten-free dessert item of the day’s offerings. I tasted my first bite and basically lost my mind, it was so good. I then told anyone who would listen about this fabulous new dessert I’d just had, and started testing recipes at home.
So, what was this mind-blowingly delicious dessert is now revolutionizing my summer post-dinner agenda? Yogurt Panna Cotta. Which, as I learned, is actually NOT a new thing. It’s a rather old thing that somehow slipped past me all these years. Trust me, I’m making up for my missed panna cotta consumption now.
When my at home attempts weren’t producing the same silken smooth, lusciously rich, velvety wonderful results, I reached out to Chef Hasty, who was kind enough to gave me his recipe to share with you. He told me that the recipe is actually rather simple, but that the key is the yogurt. Get the best, farm-fresh Greek yogurt you can get your hands on. In an effort to exactly replicate his recipe, I went straight to his supplier, an adorable farm not far down the road from me called Brandmoore Farm. The Greek yogurt was totally different than any I’d encountered – very solid, and incredibly rich. And the resulting panna cotta? Heaven.
Yogurt Panna Cotta with Blueberries, Strawberries and Cinnamon Basil
Adapted from Chef Ben Hasty
Yield: 8 to 10 six-ounce servings
1 teaspoon gelatin powder
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
Half of a vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 quart fresh strawberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 sprig cinnamon basil or other basil
3 teaspoons sugar
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the gelatin with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Allow to sit until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, in a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla bean pod and scrapings; bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
3. Add the yogurt to the gelatin and mix to combine.
4. Discard the vanilla bean pod and pour the hot cream into the gelatin/yogurt mixture, stirring well to blend.
5. Divide the mixture evenly among 8 to 10 six-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate until firm, at least several hours or overnight.
6. While the panna cotta cools, cut the strawberries into slices or quarters and roughly chop basil leaves. Sprinkle with 3 teaspoons of sugar, stir to combine and refrigerate.
7. When panna cotta is cool, top with macerated strawberries, and a handful of blueberries. Dive in and enjoy!
It’s so, so good. Light, but rich, fresh, cool, and simple, with so many perfect flavors melding all at once. Strawberry shortcake, this is your notice – you’ve been bumped from the summer rotation for at least a month. Make it for your Independence Day bash, and I promise you’ll be the toast of the party. A huge thank you to Chef Ben Hasty for sharing his recipe!
After this delicious treat, you may be inspired to create Fourth of July decor. See the gallery below!