Savory Slimdown: Corn Panna Cotta

Not only is this a fat-free desert, but it is also a great way to use all that excess sweet corn flooding the market and the back of your fridge right now. Living in Illinois my entire life, I have learned that during summertime, corn is the king around these parts. Since it has a naturally sweet flavor, why not use it in dessert? You can only have so much grilled corn-on-the-cob before it becomes the last thing you ever want to see.

The corn flavor infuses into the panna cotta in two ways. First the corn kernels are poached in milk, and then corn cobs are thrown in the milk and allowed to steep for 30 minutes. After you have drained out the corn, you are left with a cup of milk full of the intense, fresh-picked corn flavor. Fat-free Greek yogurt allows this dish to be just as creamy without any of the calories, and it adds a tangy note which I really have begun to enjoy in deserts lately. As a lot of the sweetness comes from the corn, you don’t need to put a lot of sugar into this one, and therefore this desert is great for any night in the week! It’s refreshing and works wonderfully in these blisteringly hot days.

Recipe: Corn Panna Cotta

Adapted from Food and Wine

Ingredients

  • 2 ears fresh corn, kernels removed and cobs cut into four pieces each
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons plain powdered gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and the sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Add the corn kernels and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the kernels and set aside. Add the corn cobs to the milk. Bring to a simmer. Then remove the pot from the heat and allow the milk and cob mixture to steep covered for 30 minutes. Remove the cobs from the milk. Bring the milk to a simmer again and add the gelatin. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the sour cream with the yogurt, lime juice, and vanilla. Whisk in the milk and then pour the panna cotta into 6 ramekins or glasses. Refrigerate until set, at least 3-6 hours. Serve cold with the reserved cob kernels sprinkled on top, along with some fruit or caramel sauce if you desire.

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