kefir panna cotta

Kefir Panna Cotta

Kefir panna cotta is my favorite variation of this versatile dessert. I’ve been making larger than usual batches of kefir, trying to encourage force myself to find more ways to include it into my kids’ meals. The strawberry kefir is a big hit with the munchkins. My two year old just loves Blood Orange Chia Pudding. And all of them demand that I share when I make Green Smoothie and my personal favorite Turmeric Mango Smoothie.

What is kefir panna cotta?

Kefir panna cotta resembles custard, but without the eggy taste and firm enough to be molded. One of the qualities of good panna cotta is tender texture, so getting it as firm as jello is not desirable. It tastes melt-in-your-mouth silky, and pairs with with fresh fruit or fruit sauces.

What is milk kefir?

Milk kefir is a fermented dairy drink made with milk and kefir grains. Kefir grains are a combination of lactic acid bacteria and several strains of yeast. Lactobacteria break down milk lactose into lactic acid. Lactic acid, in turn, is further metabolized by other bacteria and yeasts to create tangy beverage similar in taste to yogurt.

Milk kefir is extremely nutritious

Milk kefir has more varieties of probiotic bacteria and yeast than any other fermented dairy. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties; it improves GI function by inhibiting pathogens in the intestines. Kefir can activate functions of the immune system that protect against cancer. And so much more (all references here).

Grass fed gelatin is very good for you

Gelatin improves digestion by protecting intestinal lining. It is important because that mucous barrier keeps unwanted bacteria from entering the blood stream. Gelatin’s main component, collagen, is one of the building blocks of tissue, like skin, bones and joints. Consuming gelatin strengthens all tissues keeping us stronger and more resilient to injury. Find more information about health benefits of gelatin here.

Variations of Kefir Panna Cotta

I have made panna cotta with homemade yogurt, ryazhenka (Russian fermented baked milk), probiotic tvorog (Russian style cottage cheese) and sour cream. Coconut milk is another fun option. Just use any of those ingredients in place of kefir. Tvorog needs to be blended with milk. I’ve also made kefir panna cotta with the addition of cranberry kvass, which gave me a stunning pink color.

kefir panna cotta

HOW TO MAKE KEFIR PANNA COTTA

Ingredients
Oil for greasing the mold (I use olive oil)
2.5 teaspoons grass fed gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk, or cream, or combination of both – divided
2 cups kefir (how to make kefir)
Juice of 1/2 lemon, preferably Meyer

Instructions
Prepare molds by coating them with oil and wiping any access off thoroughly, if you plan to unmold the panna cotta. Alternatively, you can skip the oil and serve panna cotta right in the cups, it makes it very simple. Use anything you have on hand – small ramekins, ice cream cups, whisky glasses, etc. Today, I used this Nordic Ware mini bundt pan.
Combine 2.5 teaspoons gelatin with 2 tablespoons water in a small dish. Leave to bloom while working on the rest.
Combine 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla and 1 cup milk (or cream) in a medium sauce pan. Warm until sugar dissolves.
Add gelatin (it will be a thick pancake). While whisking, warm until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat.
Add remaining 1 cup of milk or cream, and whisk well. This will cool down the mixture so we don’t affect the probiotics in kefir.
Add kefir to milk/gelatin mixture, whisk well to make sure no grains remain. Shaking works best, if you feel like washing one more dish.
Add juice of 1/2 lemon.
Pour into prepared molds, and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and better overnight.
To easily unmold, dip the bottom of panna cotta cup in boiling or very hot water for a few seconds, then invert onto a serving plate.

To make blueberry sauce, if desired

Ingredients
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Instructions
In a medium (2-quart) saucepan, bring 2 cups blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, zest of one lemon and 1/4 cup water to boil.
Reduce heat to low, and simmer until the berries start to burst, 5-10 minutes.
Strain through a fine sieve, squeezing blueberries, return to saucepan.
Whisk 1 tablespoon corn starch with juice of 1/2 lemon.
Stir cornstarch mixture into the sauce, simmer until it starts to thicken.
Off heat, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
Cool, cover and keep for about a week.

Kefir Panna Cotta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8½ cups
Ingredients
  • Oil for greasing the mold (I use olive oil)
  • 2.5 teaspoons grass fed gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk, or cream, or combination of both - divided
  • 2 cups kefir (how to make kefir)
  • Juice of ½ lemon, preferably Meyer
Instructions
  1. Prepare molds by coating them with oil and wiping any access off thoroughly, if you plan to unmold the panna cotta. Alternatively, you can skip the oil and serve panna cotta right in the cups, it makes it very simple. Use anything you have on hand - small ramekins, ice cream cups, whisky glasses, etc. Today, I used this Nordic Ware mini bundt pan.
  2. Combine 2.5 teaspoons gelatin with 2 tablespoons water in a small dish. Leave to bloom while working on the rest.
  3. Combine ⅓ cup sugar, vanilla and 1 cup milk (or cream) in a medium sauce pan. Warm until sugar dissolves.
  4. Add gelatin (it will be a thick pancake). While whisking, warm until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat.
  5. Add remaining 1 cup of milk or cream, and whisk well. This will cool down the mixture so we don't affect the probiotics in kefir.
  6. Add kefir to milk/gelatin mixture, whisk well to make sure no grains remain. Shaking works best, if you feel like washing one more dish.
  7. Add juice of ½ lemon.
  8. Pour into prepared molds, and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and better overnight.
  9. To easily unmold, dip the bottom of panna cotta cup in boiling or very hot water for a few seconds, then invert onto a serving plate.

Blueberry Sauce
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium (2-quart) saucepan, bring 2 cups blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, zest of one lemon and ¼ cup water to boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until the berries start to burst, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Strain through a fine sieve, squeezing blueberries, return to saucepan.
  4. Whisk 1 tablespoon corn starch with juice of ½ lemon.
  5. Stir cornstarch mixture into the sauce, simmer until it starts to thicken.
  6. Off heat, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
  7. Cool, cover and keep for about a week.

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing just an amazing recipe. I made it today the spelt Jamir sourdough bread and it turned out so good and I we found the perfect sourdough loaf. I haven making sourdough bread but could quite found the perfect one.
    It is soft and moist. My husband will not say this bread will break my teeth. ?.

    I found your website through traditional cook school and I love what I browsed so far. I also made it Swedish sourdough rolls ?.

    Thank you

  2. Spelt Kamut sourdough bread

  3. Valeria, could I substitute the kefir in this recipe with Bulgarian yogurt? By the way, I made your Probiotic Mousse Cake twice and your Pumpkin pie. They were really delicious!