Gluten-Free Holiday Desserts: Panna Cotta & Fruit Granita

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The Sugar Mommas present you with a low calorie, gluten free dessert to enjoy this holiday season. Sometimes it’s nice to put away the flour and butter and turn off the oven. We were itching to make something served in a glass. The kids grabbed these “healthy” desserts out of the fridge and gobbled them up. We declared a few glasses off limits so the adults could enjoy this mouth-watering Italian custard with fruity shaved ice on top. Delicious and refreshing.

Panna Cotta

* 2 teaspoons water
* 2 teaspoons unflavored, powdered gelatin
* 1 cup low-fat milk
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 cups plain, fat free Greek yogurt
* 1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
* 2 tablespoons lime juice
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and stir to combine. Set aside to soften while you prepare the custard.

In a large saucepan, heat the milk and the sugar over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until the sugar is dissolved about 2-3 minutes. Use a small spatula or spoon to gently stir the gelatin into the milk. Remove from heat. Place the yogurt, sour cream, lime juice, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the milk mixture until smooth. Pour the custard into 6 martini or other dessert glasses. Chill approximately 3 hours or overnight until set.

Fruit Granita 

* 3 tablespoons water
* 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1 3/4 pounds peeled and cored citrus fruit such as grapefruit, orange or pineapple
* pinch of coarse sea salt (kosher salt may be used)

Place the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

Place the fruit in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the fruit is pureed. Place a fine metal strainer over the saucepan of sugar syrup. Pour 1/3 of the pureed fruit in the strainer and use a spatula or spoon to push the fruit against the strainer, squeezing the juices into the saucepan. Discard the solids and continue until all the fruit has been strained into the saucepan.

Stir the fruit and sugar until fully incorporated and pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Place the uncovered dish in the freezer. In one hour, remove the dish and use a fork to break up the fruit into small bits like shaved ice. Repeat every hour until all of the liquid is frozen, approximately 3 hours.

Spoon the shaved ice over the Panna Cotta and serve immediately.

Modern Variation: If you can’t wait for the fruit to freeze you can top your custard with honey, chocolate sauce, or fresh berries (with a sprig of mint). You may also sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, or mocha on the custard and dig right in.

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