Chic Eats: Brown Sugar and Bourbon Panna Cotta with Blueberry Soup PDF Print E-mail
Written by VendiRei Jones   
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 09:56

Chic Eats: Brown Sugar and Bourbon Panna Cotta
Have your cake and cut calories too. Satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking the calorie bank. Our Chic Chef puts a healthy spin on a classic dessert.

With the Winter Olympic Games wrapped up and spring peaking over the horizon, many of us have sports and fitness on the brain. When the weather warms up, we dust off the sneakers and rouse our track pants from hibernation in the back of our closets.


Doctors and fitness experts alike agree that healthy eating paired with exercising is the most effective method of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So, we exercise, drink more water and cut calories wherever we can. Cutting calories, however, doesn't have to mean giving up dessert. By substituting lower calorie ingredients in a recipe, you can reduce calories in your diet while satisfying your sugar cravings.


Literally translated, panna cotta means "cooked cream" in Italian and is traditionally made with heavy cream. Inspired by a yogurt panna cotta recipe that appeared in the 2004 Christmas edition of Southern Living Magazine, this recipe lightens the Brown Sugar and Bourbon Panna Cotta by using fat-free yogurt and replacing the whipping cream with half and half.


The tart-sweet blueberry soup offsets the warm notes of brown sugar, toasty vanilla and bourbon in this panna cotta. Lemon brightens and enhances the flavor of the blueberries, which are rich in fiber, vitamin C and cancer-fighting antioxidants.


For a final touch, candied lemon zest garnishes the dish. To make this candied lemon zest, bring one cup of water and one cup of sugar to a simmer and stir to dissolve sugar. Add the zest of two lemons and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the zest, toss in sugar and spread onto a baking sheet to dry.


Serve the panna cotta with your favorite coffee or a light-bodied tea.


Brown Sugar and Bourbon Panna Cotta with Blueberry Soup

Yield: Six Panna Cotta


For the Panna Cotta



  • 1 packet of gelatin (1/4 ounce)
  • 1 tablespoon cold water mixed with 3 tablespoons cold bourbon
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup half and half
  • 2 cups plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



  • Sprinkle gelatin over water-bourbon mixture. Stir until gelatin dissolves.
  • Mix sugar and half and half in small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in dissolved gelatin mixture, yogurt, and vanilla.
  • Pour into ramekins, cover and refrigerate until firm (up to eight hours).
  • To unmold the panna cotta, dip each ramekin in very warm water and run a butter knife along the edges.



For the Blueberry Soup



  • 2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed with liquid reserved
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Small pinch salt



  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
  • Strain through fine mesh strainer.


To Assemble

  • Place 1/3 cup of blueberry soup in a shallow bowl.
  • Carefully place panna cotta in the soup.
  • Garnish with candied lemon zest, if using.


Photo courtesy of VendiRei Jones

VendiRei Jones -

VendiRei Jones is the chef/owner of Torta, a licensed home bakery specializing in sweet and savory tarts. E-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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