Cards, flowers, and dinners accompanied by decadent desserts, oh my! It's almost Valentine's Day and I'm thrilled to share with you one of my favorite ways to enjoy the end of a special meal by serving an exceptional guilt free dessert. Not only is it going to save you extra unneeded calories but will also boost your health as well. Providing your body with natural health boosting foods is so important these days, right? What better way to celebrate a day of love than with a guilt free healthy dessert that tastes like you should feel guilty!
Silky smooth, creamy, sweet but not overly sweet, gluten free, an absolutely delicious dessert, that will satisfy your sweet tooth without any guilt.
What do I like about this recipe?
1. Make ahead (up to two days can be stored in the fridge).
2. Super easy to make (can make with your kiddos).
3. No bake dessert
4. Elegant and very impressive (serve in wine glasses or whatever you wish).
5. You can dress up any way you like (add fruit or berries of your choice).
Three ingredients that are good for you
Kefir, this is truly the best ingredient in the dairy world, sometimes called the Champagne of dairy. It lives up to being the "best of the best" of dairy. Exceptionally great for your gut. So, what is kefir? It's a probiotic rich dairy beverage that is slightly thick, and I think of it as a thin but drinkable yogurt. It is culturing of whole milk by using kefir grains in a jar. In my kitchen it's an ongoing process. Check my blog on kefir here to find out more about this magic drink. If you don't make your own, feel free to use any plain kefir from the store and there are plenty of selections.
Collagen, typically referred to as plain gelatin. I like to purchase collagen that comes from grass-fed cows. The source from which it comes is extremely important. Collagen (gelatin) is a superfood. Why? Because it was a staple in the human diet for centuries, when bone broth was eaten on a daily basis. The particular amino acids in collagen (gelatin) are very beneficial to our bodies that support healthy cell growth and reproduction. It benefits your joints, skin, nails, improves digestion, and can be a source of protein in your diet. Due to our current modern lifestyle for convenience, we are not getting enough collagen in our diet. Making your own broth is a good way to add collagen to your diet. Here is a recipe on how to make it Basic Beef Stock and Basic Chicken Stock. Here is an additional reference to learn more on this subject: please visit my all-time favorite Sally Fallon Nourishing Traditions blog.
Berries, I love berries. But feel free to top your Panna Cotta with any fruit that you like. Berries are so good for you for many, many reasons. First of all, I love them for their anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is your body's natural response to injury and infection. But again, due to our modern lifestyle of convenience, the unhealthy foods that we put into our bodies cause ongoing stress, which equates to inflammation.
What about vanilla beans?
Vanilla beans can get expensive, but they can be found economically online with a quick search. Also, one more frugal fact about vanilla beans and also cinnamon sticks: they can be re-washed, dried and used again, pretty cool, isn't it? However, if you can only purchase the pricey ones, then cut down your amount used to half. It will still be delicious! I would not recommend the typical liquid vanilla extract in this recipe. Another option is vanilla paste, which you can purchase here.
Let's do it...
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Cool down time: 10 minutes
Waiting time: 1-3 hours
Total time: 3 hours and 17 minutes (better to do over night)
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Yield: 4 portions
Ingredients for the Panna Cotta
2 cups of heavy cream
1/2 cup of maple syrup or honey
3-4 teaspoons collagen (dissolve in water about 15-20 teaspoons)
pinch of salt (optional)
1 cup of plain kefir
Ingredients for the garnish
Berries (raspberries, blackberries)
Combine gelatin (collagen) and water into a small bowl. Set aside. Proportion gelatin and water according to the package instructions. I used 3 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin and dissolved in 15 teaspoons of water.
3. Continue stirring to prevent the cream from scalding, then bring to a high simmer and immediately remove from the heat. Set aside for just 10 minutes to cool down.
4. Fish out the vanilla bean and add dissolved gelatin. Whisk all together until everything is a perfect consistency with no clumps of gelatin.
5. To the cream mixture add the last but not least ingredient - kefir. Whisk all together.
6. Ladle the mixture into 4 wine glasses (however any vessel will do) and chill for at least 1 hour or until set. Usually, it takes 3 hours for it to set perfectly.
Garnish with berries of your choice: Lemon zest is another way to decorate this dessert. Serve cold.