For along time I thought my signature dessert was the cheesecake. Then the cupcake.  But now, I think it’s panna cotta.  A silky smooth custard that is perfect no matter what the meal or time of year.  I’ve made chocolate, vanilla, and espresso panna cotta before.  For Easter, I decided to try LEMON.


1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
1 packet unflavored gelatin
the zest of two large lemons
2 cups half and half
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
2 tsp vanilla

How I Made It:

Use a zester to remove the lemon peels in long thin strips. Set the zest aside and juice both lemons. Strain the juice to remove any seeds and pith.  Transfer the lemon juice to a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the juice and stir a little to dissolve the gelatin.  Set that aside, too.

In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the half and half and yogurt. Whisk together until blended and smooth. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and whisk it all together.

Heat the mixture over medium heat. The goal is to bring it to just before a simmer — steaming but not boiling.  You don’t have to whisk the mixture the whole time it’s heating, but do keep an eye on it so it doesn’t scald or stick.

Once your cream mixture is hot (but not boiling), remove it from the heat and whisk the gelatin mixture in until it is completely dissolved.

Transfer the custard to pretty dessert dishes, pouring the custard through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lemon zest.  Common wisdom is to cover the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, but I am beginning to think that’s not absolutely required.  Covered or not, place the dessert dishes of custard in the refrigerator to chill at least 6 hours prior to serving.

How They Turned Out:

So yummy that I didn’t even have a chance to take a picture before they were scraping the bottom of the dishes!