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Strawberry Panna Cotta
Strawberry Panna Cotta Photo courtesy of Jake Gartland

We’ve always considered panna cotta too tricky and time-consuming to make ourselves. Turns out, we were wrong. Chef Ian Schnoebelen, of the new Italian-inspired New Orleans restaurant Mariza, shared his recipe for an unbelievably easy strawberry panna cotta that rewards home cooks with a dramatic dessert for mere minutes of work. Schnoebelen gives his panna cotta added distinction by using a smooth goat’s-milk yogurt in the base and topping each serving with strawberries and mint. Serve the softly set custard in vintage cocktail glasses when you want to end a dinner party with a dessert that looks fancy but is really as simple as they come.

Makes 10 (6-ounce) servings

1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin

4 cups heavy cream

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2½ cups whole goat’s-milk yogurt

2 pints fresh strawberries, trimmed and thinly sliced

Mint leaves, for garnish

1. Pour 3 tablespoons of warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside to soften for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, warm the heavy cream, stirring occasionally, until almost boiling, about 10 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup of the sugar and continue warming, whisking occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute.

3. Pour ¼ cup of the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the gelatin and whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Whisk the gelatin mixture into the hot cream mixture in the saucepan, then remove from the heat.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt to smooth out any lumps. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the yogurt, then divide among ten 6-ounce glasses, cups or ramekins. Cover the panna cotta with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 2½ hours.

5. One hour before the panna cotta is ready to serve, combine the strawberries with the remaining tablespoon sugar and let sit at room temperature to macerate.

6. When the panna cotta is set and chilled, remove it from the refrigerator. Garnish with the strawberries and mint leaves; serve immediately.

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