Panna cottas are a great dessert when you want a healthy treat but don’t want to go overboard. You can make them without using heavy cream, although they do traditionally have cream. I like to use soy milk, partly because I have it lying around for coffee and partly because it’s lower in fat than whole milk with the same thicker consistency. The vanilla bean gives it a rich vanilla flavor, and the yogurt gives it a nice tartness. Combined with a seasonal compote like this strawberry rhubarb one, and it’s the perfect make ahead dessert.
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
2 ribs rhubarb, diced into 1″ pieces
1 pint strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons honey
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and cook together for 20 minutes, until the fruit has broken down and it looks like jam. Allow to cool.
Vanilla Bean Yogurt Panna Cotta
1 vanilla bean, split in half and scraped to collect the liquid
1 envelope gelatin
2 cups yogurt
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
Dissolve the gelatin in the water in a small bowl. Meanwhile, heat the soy milk with the vanilla bean and the scrapings. Dissolve the sugar in the milk and remove from the heat. Whisk in the gelatin. Whisk in the yogurt and vanilla extract. Pour into ramekins or glasses and refrigerate for several hours.
Top the ramekins or glasses with a spoon of the compote to serve. You can also top with a spoon of whipped cream if you want.
Leftover compote is great on vanilla or chocolate ice cream, or with pancakes, or spread on toast or muffins. There are so many ways to use it, I doubt it will last long!