Goat Yogurt Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries

Source: Jennie Schacht, author of Farmers’ Market Desserts (Chronicle Books, 2010).

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

This recipe was demonstrated at CUESA’s Market to Table program on July 31, 2010.

Yogurt made from goat’s milk gives this dessert a rich, complex flavor without a hint of the source. Balsamic and black pepper are natural companions of the strawberry, and fitting for this Italian dessert. Look for cream and yogurt that have no gums or additives. If goat’s milk yogurt isn’t available in your area, substitute Greek-style plain whole-milk yogurt. It is worth splurging on top-quality aged balsamic — the one labeled aceto balsamico tradizionale in Italy.

Serves 4


Panna Cotta
1 ¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
1 cup plain goat’s milk yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Small pinch of sea salt or kosher salt
⅓ cup granulated sugar

1 ½ pints (about 3 cups) strawberries, hulled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 3 tablespoons best-quality balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Small pinch of sea salt or kosher salt



  1. To make the panna cotta, sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the water in a small bowl without stirring.  Let stand until softened, about 10 minutes.

  2. Whisk together ½ cup of the cream, the yogurt, the vanilla, and the salt in a bowl, preferably with a pour spout. Gently heat the remaining ¾ cup cream with the sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and bubbles begin to form along the edge of the pan. It should be very warm but not so hot you can’t touch it.
  3. Remove from the heat and, using a silicone spatula, scrape in the softened gelatin, then stir for a full minute to dissolve the gelatin completely. (Don’t rush this step; it is important.) Stir the cream-gelatin mixture into the yogurt mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture into four 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups, dividing it evenly. Refrigerate until set (they should be slightly jiggly but each will move as a whole), about 4 hours or up to 3 days. To avoid condensation, cover tightly with plastic film only after completely cold.
  5. To make the topping, 30 to 60 minutes before serving, cut 2 ½ cups of the berries into ¼-inch-thick slices from top to tip and place in a bowl. Quarter the remaining berries and puree them with the sugar and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir the puree into the sliced berries. Then stir in 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar, the pepper, and the salt. Taste and add more sugar, balsamic, or pepper, if desired. The seasonings are meant to complement the berries, not overwhelm them. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  6. To serve, run a thin, sharp knife around the inside of each ramekin, then invert onto a broad-rimmed, shallow soup bowl or dessert plate, tapping gently on the bottom of the ramekin to encourage release. If the panna cotta is stubborn, carefully insert the knife between the inverted panna cotta and the ramekin to coax it; it should slip right
    out. Stir the balsamic strawberries once or twice, and then spoon them and their juices over and around each panna cotta.


Farmers Market Ingredients