Greek Yogurt & Mint Panna Cotta with Bergamot Candy Brittle

As promised, finally here is a real food post. This one’s been on the back of my mind for almost a year now. Every time I picked up my notebook over that time, it caught my eye but then I put it on the back burner again in favour of something else.

After making Greek yogurt panna cotta at my cookery course last month, I decided now was the time to give this version a try. Some of you might know that I’ve tried quite a few panna cotta versions since starting this blog. I just love panna cotta for its taste and rich texture, and it’s so versatile – you can add any flavour you want, really.

I also love mint so it was just a question of time until I would combine it with panna cotta. The bergamot is a different story. I have a friend who owns a little Italian shop, and on a whim I once bought bergamot candy. The taste of bergamot might need some getting used to for some people, in fact with the candy I bought people either loved it or hated it, there seems to be nothing inbetween.

So with the two flavours chosen, the only thing I was pondering for a long while was whether to make mint panna cotta with bergamot whatever (syrup, crust, brittle) or vice versa. What I didn’t know was how the candy would melt, or actually how to melt it at all. Searching the web didn’t help much, so I decided to test with one single piece of candy. When that worked out OK I decided to use the remaining mint I still have on the balcony for the panna cotta and use the bergamot candy for decoration.

The only thing I hadn’t considered was that the bergamot candy was white and would, therefore, also be white in its molten state and basically invisible on the white panna cotta. So I did another trial run with one single piece of candy, and I used green food colouring, popping a drop onto the molten candy and stirring it in a little. Worked perfectly.

What did not, unfortunately, work perfectly was the recipe. So I’m not going to give you a perfect recipe today but instead let you have the instructions from the cookery course (which makes about 20 servings!) and tell you in bold below how I did it.

Mint Syrup

6 tbsp sugar
9 tbsp water
1.5 tbsp packed mint, crushed in mortar and tied into a tea bag

Bring water and sugar to a boil, add the tea bag with the mint and let cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat until the liquid reaches a syrupy consistency (took about 10 minutes) and take off the heat.

Bergamot Candy Brittle

2 – 4 pieces of candy
1 drop food colour ( I used Wilton leaf green gel colour)

Heat candy in a non-stick pan, and once it shows first signs of melting, drop in the food colour and stir it a little with a toothpick. As soon as the molten candy starts sticking to the toothpick, take a teaspoon, spoon up a little molten candy at a time and smear onto a piece of baking parchment. (It won’t be very pliable because it hardens very quickly, so no pretty pouring possible.)

Greek Yogurt & Mint Panna Cotta

Cookery course version
750 g Greek yogurt [250 g]
450 ml milk [150 ml]
450 ml double cream [150 ml single cream]
2 gelatine leaves [2 leaf gelatine]*
mint syrup

*Note: 1 German gelatine sheet 12 x 7 cm of size. This might vary in other countries!

[It also includes sugar but I left that out because the mint syrup contains more than enough sugar.]

Warm milk, sugar and mint syrup together. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until softened.

Squeeze the gelatine leaves to remove as much water as possible, then add it to the warm milk mixture and stir until dissolved. Take milk off the heat.

Stir in the cream to cool the mixture, then slowly and gently stir in the Greek yogurt. [As we only have single cream, which is not as thick as double cream, I opted to do this my usual way and heated the cream a little with the milk.]

Place mixture into a bowl and put the bowl into cold or iced water. Stir continuously until a thick coating consistency is achieved. [I put the bowl into the sink filled with cold water and stirred and stirred and stirred… the consistency didn’t really get thicker.]

Pour into individual ramekins which have a disk of baking parchment on the base. Allow to chill until completely set, approximately 2 to 4 hours, or overnight. [I chilled them overnight and they were set but very wobbly.]

Turn out the panna cotta and decorate with the candy brittle.

My verdict: tastes good, although there’s only a hint of mint which you’ll detect if you know it’s in there. So definitely more mint next time. I would skip the syrup and just heat cream with a few mint sprigs in it, then leave to infuse overnight. The bergamot candy brittle was what made it stand out to me. Consistency definitely too soft and wobbly.

What I’d also do next time is: less Greek yogurt, no milk, more cream, probably have a 50:50 cream:yogurt ratio. And more gelatine leaves. I usually use 4 x 6 g leaves and that works perfectly.

So, all in all it was quite good – definitely nice to look at – but not perfect.