The theme for a recent Gourmet Dinner Club (GDC) was ‘March Madness.’ I interpreted this as needing to have a surprise ingredient. So I was excited when I came across this recipe.

Traditional Italian panna cotta is made with a combination of heavy cream, light cream and/or milk along with gelatin and sugar. This recipe calls for not one but two surprise ingredients: yogurt (in place of the light cream or milk) and extra-virgin olive oil.

I recommend making this at least a day in advance (it can even be made two days in advance) so that the different flavors can marry. Flavors include sweet (sugar and vanilla), a bit of sour (yogurt), fruity (extra-virgin olive oil) and tart (marmalade). When I first tasted the finished product, the extra-virgin olive oil was the strongest but as it sat the flavors came together and the result was a creamy and flavorful dessert.

I used small (8-ounce) Mason jars for this dessert so that I could easily take them to our GDC dinner. If you’re not traveling, you can use 6-ounce ramekins.  

While I topped this with orange-tangerine marmalade and pistachios, you could use any kind of jam-nut combination or fresh summer berries.

Gluten-Free/Wheat-Free Option:  If you’re gluten-free/wheat-free, I’d recommend looking for an unflavored gelatin that is marked as such. While Knox is likely safe, it’s not labeled gluten-free.

Yogurt Panna Cotta


Yogurt Panna Cotta
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
  • One ¼-ounce envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup flavorful extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • ⅓ cup shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup cold water – let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. While gelatin is softening, in a small saucepan, bring cream and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer. Cook over moderately low heat for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in gelatin mixture.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk sugar with olive oil until combined. Whisk in yogurt until smooth.
  4. Remove vanilla bean from vanilla cream mixture. Gradually whisk vanilla cream into the yogurt mixture.
  5. Pour mixture into six 6-ounce ramekins (or 8-ounce Mason jars) and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
  6. Before serving, divide marmalade and pistachios between each panna cotta. Sprinkle with sea salt.
* You can also make these in 8-ounce Mason jars (fill about three quarters full). This makes it easy to travel with them.
* Any kind of good quality marmalade will work – I’ve used an orange-tangerine marmalade.


Source:  Variation on recipe from Food & Wine

2018-05-08T21:25:38+00:00 May 8th, 2018|Categories: Desserts|Tags: , , , , , |4 Comments


  1. Perry May 8, 2018 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Glad to supply the yogurt when you make it again.

    • Nicole May 16, 2018 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Dad – Perfect! I will let you know!

  2. David May 11, 2018 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Beautiful, Nicole! I make my yogurt panna cotta with part cream, part fat free yogurt. No matter how you make it, it is one of my favorite desserts!

    • Nicole May 16, 2018 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      David – Good to know that it works well with cream and fat-free yogurt! So yummy!

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