I have been wracking my brain for weeks trying to remember a lovely, light dessert that I made a few years ago for some friends. I remembered that it was like individual pudding molds, sitting in some sort of fruit puree. Then I remembered that it was lemony, and I did a search of lemon desserts. And there it was: panna cotta. Panna cotta, from the Italian “cooked cream” is an Italian dessert made by simmering together milk, cream and sugar, adding some gelatin, and letting it cool until set. It is often served with fruit, either cooked or raw. And it can be very low in fat and remarkably easy to make.
I was trying to think of a Valentine’s Day dessert, so instead of the lemon panna cotta, I made one with white chocolate. You can decorate these any way you want: with candy hearts
Sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup fat free half-and-half in a small saucepan; let stand 1 to 2 minutes.
Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat 3 minutes or until gelatin dissolves. Watch so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat. Add chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. I found I had to stir quite vigorously to get it to melt…maybe chopped chocolate would have worked better.
Gradually stir in remaining 1 cup half-and-half, condensed milk, and vanilla. Pour 1/2 cup custard into each of 6 stemmed glasses or 6-ounce custard cups.
Cover and chill 8 hours or until ready to serve. Turn out on a plate, or eat it straight from the bowl or glass. Makes 6 servings at 4.3 grams of fat/serving
NOTE: I happened to have white chocolate chips on hand, so I used them. They were hard to melt into the half and half. I think it would be better to use a high quality white chocolate bar, partly because the chopped chocolate might melt better, but also because the flavor of the white chocolate dominates this dessert, and probably high quality white chocolate would be better. If you use the chips, you might want to chop them up a bit.