It figures I’d start the low-fat, low-sodium posts with a dessert. Those of you who know me in real life are aware I don’t do deprivation well — particularly when it comes to sweets. So yes, dessert was the first thing I tried to transform.
The good news is, I think I’m on the right track. I would almost serve this to guests — ALMOST. It is still very much a work in progress, but I can assure you of this: it is a welcome substitute for the non-fat yogurt and jam we’ve* been stuck with lately. I’ve basically started with a low-fat panna cotta recipe, which replaces the typical cream and sugar component of the dessert with low-fat milk and yogurt, and transformed it into something more exotic. Does it work? Well — as I said before, almost. I would use pineapple or bananas instead of strawberries (or at least saute the strawberries with a little bit of nice balsamic or brown sugar), steep the basil in the coconut milk as opposed to liberally adding slivers of it to the dessert, and would skip the black pepper (which I will not mention in the recipe, of course) in favor of vanilla or toasted coconut. Beyond that, though, it actually does seem worthy of dessert, which is exactly what I was going for. If you want to make it a little creamier, you can either use full fat coconut or low / full fat yogurt. But then you might as well use real cream, no?
If you prefer, you can also use regular milk. I’ve done this as well, and it works. It’s just a little less exciting.
Forgive the photos, which sort of remind me of faux foodie glamour shots. It is 11 pm and my nice camera lacks battery power, so I’ve decided to improvise.
* Err… well, James has. Until yesterday, I had my private stash of Girl Scout Cookies. Shhh, don’t tell!
Low-fat strawberry basil panna cotta
- 1 c. low-fat coconut milk
- 1 c. non-fat greek yogurt (Fage or Skyr are the best)
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin (have yet to try this with agar agar for the vegetarians out there, but if I get around to it, I will report back. If you try it out and it works, leave a comment!)
- 2 t. honey
- 3 basil leaves, finely chopped
- 6 strawberries, cut into small chunks
Sprinkle the gelatin over the coconut milk, and let stand for a couple of minutes minutes. Heat briefly over a medium-low burner, stirring rapidly, until the gelatin dissolves. Add the honey, and stir until that also dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in basil chunks, and set aside.
Evenly distribute strawberry chunks between four ramekins or small bowls. Pour coconut milk mixture over the strawberries. Chill mixture for a couple of hours, or until the mixture has firmed. Serve cold, either in the ramekins or turned out and topped with some sort of decadent berry sauce (which I have yet to make).