Strawberries in season: Greek yogurt and vanilla bean panna cotta with strawberry mousse

It’s strawberry season in California! Oh boy.

I recently subscribed to an organic produce delivery service, Farm Fresh to You.  Every other week I receive a box of organic fruits and vegetables from local farms and in my first box I received gorgeous organic strawberries, the first of the season.  (I also received kale, collard greens, red leaf lettuce, 2 fennel bulbs, baby carrots, orange cauliflower, oranges, apples, and lemons. It was a little overkill so I switched to a smaller delivery plan, but the fruits and vegetables were delicious and I used up nearly all of them, thanks to the help of these produce preservers).

Panna cotta strawberry mousse What to do with all those delicious strawberries?
Since Fin’s grampaw was coming into town to see his grandson, and since I have it on good authority that one of his favorite breakfast foods is a yogurt parfait, I decided to do a take on the yogurt parfait for a light after-dinner dessert: greek yogurt and vanilla bean panna cotta with fresh strawberry mousse.

The panna cotta is about as simple as it gets (if you can make Jell-O, you’re golden): gelatin, cream, vanilla bean, greek yogurt, sugar.  Simmer the cream, gelatin, vanilla, and sugar, stir in the greek yogurt, then pour into ramekins or small glasses, and let set in the fridge.  The mousse, not much more difficult: gelatin and crushed strawberries, stirred into fresh whipped cream and powdered sugar, set in the fridge.  Put the two together and you have tangy and creamy panna cotta with light as clouds strawberry mousse.  The tanginess from the Greek yogurt complements the sweet but slightly tart strawberries.  Easy peasy.

But don’t stop there.  I learned from my restaurant days that every creamy dessert needs a little crunch to balance out the textures in your mouth, so I topped my panna cotta mousse “parfaits” with crunchy crushed lady finger cookies and some chopped pistachios (for color and flavor contrast as well), and finally some diced strawberries.  Beautiful, yet simple.  A winning combination.

Panna cotta strawberry mousse

A light late-Spring dessert that’s sure to please any parfait lover, and a great way to showcase the gorgeous strawberries we’ve been enjoying here in California.  Enjoy!

Yogurt & Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Mousse

Serves 6
Prep time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 45 minutes
Meal type Dessert


Panna cotta

  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Unflavored Gelatin (1 envelope)
  • 3 tablespoons Cold water
  • 1/3 cup Sugar or evaporated cane juice
  • 1 Vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 16 oz Greek yogurt (Plain, unflavored)


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Unflavored Gelatin (1 envelope)
  • 2 cups Stawberries (Cleaned and hulled)
  • 1 1/2 cup Heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Cold water


  • 2-3 Lady fingers (or use graham cracker or cookie of your choice)
  • 1-2 Diced strawberries
  • 1/8 cup Pistachios (chopped)


Adapted from Joy of Desserts and Eggs on Sunday


First make panna cotta. Place cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top, let soften for 3 minutes.
2. In pot, bring cream and sugar over low-medium heat. Slice open vanilla bean and scrape seeds in cream mixture, then add scraped bean (you'll strain it out later). Bring to simmer, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scalding.
3. Turn off heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is fully dissolved, about 3 minutes.
In a larger bowl add yogurt and stir until creamy. Place mesh strainer over the yogurt bowl and pour cream and vanilla through strainer into yogurt bowl to catch the spent vanilla bean. Stir carefully with whisk until cream and vanilla is fully combined with yogurt.
5. Pour panna cotta into 6 ramekins or glasses, refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
6. Next make the mousse. Place cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top, let sit for 3 minutes. Then heat in microwave or in small pot, stirring often, until gelatin is fully dissolved.
7. Place strawberries in blender and pulse until well crushed. Add dissolved gelatin mixture and pulse again. Let cool in refrigerator.
8. In larger bowl, whip cream with electric mixer with whisk attachment until small peaks form. Add powdered sugar and continue to whisk until you reach stiff peaks (take whisk out with dollop of whipped cream and invert upside down. If the cone shape stands up, you're done, if it folds over, whip a little more. Don't overwhip or you'll get butter.
9. Carefully fold strawberry/gelatin mixture into whipped cream mixture and mix gently. Refrigerate for 2 hours until set.
To serve, spoon a dollop of mousse on top of set panna cotta. Sprinkle diced strawberries, crushed lady fingers (or cookie or your choice), and finely chopped pistachios (option) over top for garnish. Serve cold.


  1. Your pictures look simply amazing. I love pannacotta and the idea of pairing it with strawberry mousse makes it more mouth watering

  2. Your recipe sounds awesome, but it doesn’t say how much greek yogurt to use. I assume it’s plain-flavored greek yogurt, right? Thanks so much!

  3. Your pictures are great. You make me hungry! Want to try your recipe as soon as possible! Thanks :)

  4. Thanks for pointing that out kaknight! I updated the recipe for you, 16 oz greek yogurt. Enjoy~

  5. Thank you zuckerwandlerin. I hope yours turns out lovely.


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