I love making yogurt at home. Once you try your hand at making it, you find out how easy the process is . More importantly, making your own homemade yogurt is a great way to have a treat that is free of preservatives, chemicals and artificial flavors. Furthermore , it tastes a lot better than anything you can buy in a store and it is cheaper too.
Blog checking lines:The lovely Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler was our July Daring Cooks’ hostess and she asked us to create homemade yogurt in our own kitchens! No incubators needed, no expensive equipment or ingredients, just a few items and we had delicious yogurt for a fraction of the cost and a whole lot healthier than what you buy in the stores! If you really want to let your creative juices flow, then it is encouraged that you use your homemade yogurt in a tasty creation of your choice.
This month’s daring cooks challenge was to make yogurt at home if you have never done that before and to use your homemade yogurt in a recipe of your choice.
I made two recipes for this month’s challenge, panna cotta a yogurt based dessert and maghshi مغشي a popular recipe here in the Levant that is basically stuffed zucchini that is cooked in a yogurt sauce, similar to the way you cook shish barak. I will share the panna cotta today and will keep the maghshi for a another day to prevent this post from getting too long
Panna cotta has been on my list of recipes to try forever. When this challenge was posted I knew it was the time to take it off that list. Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set.
I decided to make my panna cotta with Arabic flavors so I used mastic and rosewater. The end result was creamy, cool and refreshing. Slightly reminiscent of the flavors in the Lebanese nights dessert but the sweet and sour notes from the honey and yogurt made this unique and addictive. The best part about panna cotta is that you can make it the night before and then enjoy it the next day. No turning on the oven, no long hours before the stove. The perfect dessert for a hot summer day.
Panna cotta with mastic and rosewater
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
1 cup cream ( or 3/4 cup evaporated milk and 1/4 cup cream)
1 and 1/3 cup very thick greek yogurt (you can make your own using the recipe here)
1/4 teaspoon mastic finely ground
1/3 cup sugar (reduce if you plan on drizzling with syrup)
1 teaspoon rose water
How to make the panna cotta
Sprinkle the gelatin into the water in a bowl and let sit until softened, about 5 minutes.
Grind the mastic resin crystals in a mortar and pestle along with some sugar or use your coffee grinder
Place the cream or milk/ cream mixture, sugar and mastic resin in a pot and heat until the sugar has dissolved (do not boil it, just heat it enough for the sugar to dissolve)
Add the Gelatin and stir until the gelatin has dissolved.
Take off the heat
Whisk the yogurt using a whisk in a bowl until smooth.
Add the cream mixture to the yogurt and whisk until you get a homogeneous mix.
Pour the mixture into your choice of serving plates. You can use well greased ramekins, silicon molds or a clear glass container if you do not plan on inverting the panna cotta
Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours. (I usually leave it over night)
Serve chilled, straight from the fridge, topped with a drizzle of honey and chopped pistachios.
For a richer panna cotta go for a cream instead of a milk cream mixture. If you want a healthier panna cotta them replace part or all of the cream for evaporated milk. I personally enjoy it with evaporated milk
You can increase the sugar a little and serve the panna cotta without the honey but honey and yogurt are a combination you must try at least once. There is something about pairing the flavor and sweetness of honey with the slight tang of yogurt that you must try to understand. It will probably be love at first bite 🙂
Looking for more ideas to use up yogurt?
Healthy cheesecake recipe, no baking and no eggs
Mutawam “roasted zucchini garlic yogurt dip”
Shish Barak recipe (middle eastern dumplings)
How to make your own Labneh cheese (yogurt cheese)