January is the land of resolutions and good intentions, so I thought I would start off the month with a recipe that is relatively guilt-free. I have become a huge fan of panna cottas for entertaining. They are ridiculously easy to make and can be prepared hours (or days!) in advance.
This recipe combines a tangy yogurt panna cotta with a sweet pineapple granita and is a sunny end to any mid-winter meal. We enjoyed these on New Years Day following some less guilt-free tacos and salsa (more on that later). If you want to make an even simpler dessert, the panna cotta could also be served with a spoonful of jam (or granola?) and the pineapple granita is great on its own.
Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and made a cookie to do with these, but I’ll save that for tomorrow. For now, you can hold on to those resolutions.
Yogurt Panna Cotta with Pineapple Granita (recipe adapted from Jansen Chan via Food & Wine, March 2010)
- 1 cup low-fat (1% or 2%) milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons plain powdered gelatin
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1/3 cup fat-free sour cream (or reduced fat)
- 1 1/2 cups plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (a few drops)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pineapple (1 3/4 pounds)—peeled, cored and quartered
- Pinch of salt
In a large saucepan, heat the milk with the sugar over low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until softened, 3 minutes. Scrape the gelatin into the warm milk and let cool completely.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sour cream with the yogurt, lime juice and vanilla. Whisk in the milk and pour the panna cotta into 6 glasses (number of glasses will depend on how large you want these to be). Refrigerate until set, 3 hours.
In a saucepan, cook the water and sugar over moderate heat, stirring, just until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.
Cut three-fourths of the pineapple into chunks, transfer to a blender and puree; strain into the saucepan with the sugar syrup, pressing hard on the solids. Discard the pulp. Stir the salt into the pineapple puree and pour it into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Freeze for 30 minutes. Using a fork, stir the granita. Continue freezing, stirring every 30 minutes, until the granita is icy and fluffy, about 3 hours.
Cut the remaining pineapple into thin slices. Fluff the granita with a fork and spoon it over the panna cottas. Garnish with the pineapple slices and serve right away.