How’s This for a Beautiful and Easy Dessert?
Panna cotta. Beautiful, white, milky, and eggless custard. What’s not to love, right? I’ve made a lot of different recipes for this dessert and had arrived at my favorite years ago. But when I read about adding olive oil to it, I knew I had to give it a try.
And seeing as how I would be spooning some of my Pomegranate Jam on top, I gave quite a bit of thought as to what flavors to add to the custard. I began by adding one sprig of fresh mint to the cream and sugar as it heated. After a few minutes, I tasted it and could tell that one sprig of mint wasn’t going to do much of anything, so I added another. I did not want too much mint as I was going for a peppery floral-like flavor. With the 2 mint sprigs, I now had the floral element, but decided I needed some black pepper to emphasize the peppery side of things. A little vanilla rounded it out nicely.
I normally add buttermilk to my panna cotta because I like for it to have some tang. But this time I went with plain Greek yogurt because I whisked olive oil into it and I wanted the olive oil to stay suspended. The thick yogurt was the perfect vehicle. The olive oil blended right in and stayed put. It didn’t sink or separate.
At that point it was only a matter of stirring some softened gelatin into the hot cream and whisking it all into the yogurt and olive oil. I spooned it into some dishes and waited for it to set. It took real will power not to eat this when it had started to set, but I knew I wouldn’t get the true experience until it had fully set, so I gave it a few hours in the fridge.
Here’s the surprising thing about it. The olive oil actually gives it a lighter mouth feel than normal. It’s always silky, but the olive oil makes it even more so. I’ve decided that olive oil is an excellent addition. And the flavors are subtle and interesting. Of course, it’s not absolutely necessary, but that spoonful of Pomegranate Jam really takes this to a very happy place. You could easily use whatever brightly flavored delicious jam you happen to have on hand. Milky, tangy, tart and sweet. What more could I want?