Honey Panna Cotta with Kefir

We have a dairy cow on the farm, named Maggie.  When Maggie is producing milk, she can produce up to 7 gallons of 100% grass-fed milk a day!  That’s a lot of milk, and it allows us to make on-going batches of raw kefir for smoothies, salad dressings, popsicles and more.  Kefir is a probiotic rich dairy beverage that is slightly thick, almost like a thin yogurt that gets cultured using kefir grains in mason jars.  This panna cotta recipe is an excellent use for your extra kefir.

Vanilla beans can get expensive, but they can be found economically online with a quick search.  However, if you can only get the pricey ones, cut it down to one or two vanilla beans, it will still be delicious!

Ingredients

  • 3 vanilla beans, pods split, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 3 tbsp +1 tsp bovine gelatin
  • 5 tbsp cold water
  • 4 cups kefir
  • ¾ cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Use a fork to combine gelatin and water into a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vanilla beans and pods with 1 cup of cream.
  3. While stirring to prevent the milk from scalding, bring to a high simmer and immediately remove from the heat. Set aside for just 10 minutes.
  4. While the mixture is still hot, whisk in the gelatin mixture until fully dissolved. *
  5. Then, strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl to remove vanilla pods and any remaining small gelatin clumps.
  6. To the strained milk, add the remaining cup of cream, kefir, raw honey and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.
  7. Ladle the mixture into 10 1-cup ramekins (however any vessel will do) and chill for at least 1 hour until set. Serve cold.

Notes

*The gelatin must be allowed to hydrate or bloom for a few minutes before being melted into a hot but not boiling mixture. This will allow the gelatin to be fully dissolved into the mixture without clumping. However, the cream, kefir and honey should be added in at room temp or at least not cold as this will seize the gelatin prematurely. The resulting texture of the panna cotta could be affected.