Orange, Ginger, Goat Yogurt Panna Cotta

Oh, hello again. My family has a hectic November and December. My mother’s birthday kicks it off and then, in quick succession, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, my birthday, Christmas, New Years, and, just when you think you can stop thinking about who needs a present and a baked good, my father’s birthday. There’s been a lot of sugar.

There have also been an unfortunate number of gluten-free cookies that ended up in the trash for being hard as rocks and flavorless (what am I getting wrong with Buckwheat?)  or for utterly collapsing in the oven (did this recipe really work for everyone else?). There were some very good pies and also some kind of disappointing ones. My uncle, mother, and I spent an evening crafting pigs out of marzipan. The pigs show up annually in our Christmas stocking so joining the pig molding party felt a bit like being given the keys to Santa’s workshop (yay, I’m a grown up…crap, I’m a grown up).


Amidst all the sugary baked goods, I discovered this.


My birthday came a mere four days after Thanksgiving this year and I didn’t feel up for more baked goods so instead I made this Smitten Kitchen Panna Cotta (I topped it with pomegranate seeds and rose sugar instead of honey and walnuts, but I’m sure the original is excellent too.) Since, I also had the flu on my birthday this turned out to be an excellent decisions. There were a few days, when all my throat or stomach could stand was creamy, yogurty, panna cotta.

Despite, having eaten it for a week straight, I loved that panna cotta more than all the cookies, pies, and cakes that piled up around us  all month. I decided that I could update it for Christmas dinner into something a little more decadent, but still refreshing. I swapped the greek yogurt for strained goat yogurt, which has a creamier tang. I stirred in orange zest and candied ginger and a few tablespoons of orange juice. We made a pitcher of ginger syrup to go on the side. In the end, I think, it’s really the perfect holiday dessert because when you eat it for breakfast the next morning you feel both indulgent and virtuous all at once.

I plan to make it a Christmas tradition so I’ll be making it again next year. But, if you  don’t want to wait that long, I think you could feel justified making this dessert, even in January. And, if you are looking for something to serve on New Years–in the evening or for brunch–I think this would work well.


I forgot to take a good picture before we dug in, so let this well-cleaned plate stand for how delicious it was.

Orange, Ginger, Goat Yogurt Panna Cotta with Ginger Syrup (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Make Panna Cotta:

– Canola or other neutral oil

– 4 tablespoons of water

– 1 packet gelatin (2 1/2 teaspoons)

– 16 ounces, full fat goat milk yogurt

– 1 cup heavy cream

– 1/2 cup milk (I used 1 percent because that is what we had around, but I think any percentage would work.)

– 1/3 cup granulated sugar

– 1/4 cup chopped, candied ginger

– 1 tablespoons orange zest

– 2 tablespoons, fresh squeezed orange juice

* Strain your yogurt: At least 2 hours before starting (but really as early as you think of it) put a mesh strainer over a large bowl, cover strainer in a dish towel or layered cheese cloth, and dump your goat yogurt into it. Let strain for at least 2 hours.

* Coat 9-inch cake pan in thin layer of oil.

* Soften gelatin in 4 tablespoons of water for 15 minutes.

* Measure out 2 cups of the strained yogurt and whisk with cream in large bowl.

* Stir chopped ginger and orange zest into yogurt-cream mixture.

* In a small sauce pan bring milk and sugar to simmer. Stir in gelatin and remove from heat. (All of the gelatin should dissolve into the milk almost instantly.)

* Stir milk, sugar, gelatin mixture into yogurt-cream mixture.

* Whisk in orange juice.

* Pour entire mixture into prepared pan. Chill overnight.

Make syrup:

– 1 cup sugar

– 3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced

– 1 cup of water

* Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Simmer for about an hour. Let cool and strain before using. (Note: Be careful not to let it boil a second time or it will crystallize.)

To serve:

* Bring a shallow pan of water to boil. Run a knife around the edge of panna cotta. Dip panna cotta pan in boiling water for about 10 seconds. Invert onto flat platter. Serve with ginger syrup on the side.


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