Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Late Summer Fruit

It’s not secret that our family adores buttermilk. I’ve probably started many posts about buttermilk with that very sentence. I’ll repeat that again: We adore buttermilk.

Back in January, I finally decided to try Martha’s recipe for Buttermilk Panna Cotta. It got rave reviews from my husband, my sister, my kids, and my very own tastebuds. It was wonderful.

Fast forward to a few months ago when I met up with my pals April and Vanessa at Pizzeria 712 in Orem, Utah, and ordered Buttermilk Panna Cotta made with buttermilk from locally owned and operated Winder Farms. It was so much better than Martha’s recipe. Richer, creamier, silkier…marvelous in every way.

I’ve been trying to duplicate the P712 Buttermilk Panna Cotta at home. I tweaked Martha’s recipe a bit and finally came up with what we feel is a very good Buttermilk Panna Cotta. One that will get me by until my next visit to P712. I cut down the amount of buttermilk a bit and upped the heavy cream to give it a richer, less jiggly feel. But it’s still light enough to fool your taste buds into thinking it’s healthy. (To be fair, it is healthier than other similar desserts.) The other addition I made was vanilla. For the BPC in the pictures, I used extract. Use a vanilla bean if you have it–it’s worth the extra splurge. I’ve made it both ways, but I love the flavor and black specks from the bean the most.

Erin, one of my dear friends who used to live across the street from me in NY, brought me some goodies from her parents’ garden–including raspberries, blackberries, nectarines. The fresh fruit was so perfect with the cool, creamy panna cotta.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 2/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or 1/2 of a vanilla bean)
Fresh fruit, for serving

Place 1 cup of buttermilk in a heat-proof bowl or top of a double boiler. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and let sit for 5 minutes.

Bring 2/3 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a small pan. Pour over the buttermilk and gelatin. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water (or double boiler) and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved, about 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in remaining 2/3 cup buttermilk and 1/3 cup heavy cream, and the vanilla extract. Stir and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup (1 quart). Pour into six 4 oz. ramekins or custard cups. Place the cups on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

To serve:

Unmold panna cotta by dipping the ramekin in hot water for a few seconds and run the tip of a thin knife around the edges and invert onto a platter, or alternately serve the panna cotta in the ramekin. Top with fresh fruit.

Best if eaten within 2 or 3 days.

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  1. When you say you guys adore buttermilk, how so? Like you drink it straight up? You like how it improves the taste of baked goods and helps to keep them moist? I’m not certain I’ve drunk buttermilk. I usually just sour milk. Guess this is another thing I’ve been missing out on.

    Your panna cotta looks delish. I think I’d like it, buttermilk and all!

  2. I tried a buttermilk panna cotta back in January too and really liked it, but haven’t made it again since. Your photos are beautiful. Makes me want to jump in and grab a bite.

  3. Ingrid–yes on both accounts. I love the flavor and tang of buttermilk. My husband drinks it. He doesn’t like regular milk so much. I like it, too, though I usually just bake with it. We buy it by the half gallon from a local creamery. It’s the best buttermilk ever.

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  4. panna cotta is next on my list to attempt, now with buttermilk you have me intrigued. have you made the frozen yogurt from Gabby’s blog? You have to make it right away, it has that tang and reminds me of sour cream ice cream. pure delight. i know you will love it and find someway to improve upon it, although it is perfection alone. make it.

  5. The clarity in your photos is amazing. I feel like I could just reach over and pick one of those blackberries up. You need to give me lessons! (By the way, do you want to meet at the park next week?)

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