Panna Cotta with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries and Basil Sugar

Story and recipe and photography by: Isabelle Bulota


Strawberry season has arrived! There is so much we can do with this delicious, beautiful fruit, and so many ways to enjoy it, especially since we are extremely fortunate on Vancouver Island to have multiple local farms producing the sweet berry.

One of the recipes that goes best with strawberries is panna cotta, a dessert of Italian origin that is easy to make. Its texture is incredibly smooth and creamy and it is often served in restaurants as a delicacy. Like a small masterpiece, the panna cotta is removed from its cup, placed in the centre of a plate, and covered with berries and their syrup. Here I propose a homemade option in little pots, covered with balsamic roasted strawberries and sprinkled with basil sugar. Perfect for any dinner you are hosting or for bringing to a summer potluck. It will certainly be a big hit!





Panna Cotta

Makes 4 cups

¼ cup warm water

2½ tsp unflavoured gelatin

2 cups plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped

2 cups heavy cream, divided

¼ cup white monk fruit sweetener

Juice of ½ freshly squeezed organic lemon


Place the water in a small bowl and add the gelatin, stirring quickly. Set aside for about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla extract, and one cup of the cream. Set aside as well.

In a small saucepan, bring the remaining cream and sweetener to a low heat. Gently stir in the water-gelatin mixture; it will dissolve as you stir. Remove from the heat when well combined.

Whisk this cream mixture into the yogurt mixture, then stir in the lemon juice at the end.

Pour the mixture into small cups and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results.


Roasted Strawberries

300 g strawberries, washed in cold water and hulled

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper


Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Cut each strawberry in half and place in a mixing bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar, syrup, salt and pepper, and stir gently to combine. Place the strawberries, in a single layer, in a baking dish that can hold the juices.

Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes until the berries are tender and soaked in bright red juice.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and let berries cool down. Serve over the panna cotta along with a drizzle of the baking dish juices.


Basil Sugar

½ cup white monk fruit sweetener

¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves

1 Tbsp lemon zest


Process sweetener, basil, and zest in a mini food processor until basil is fully incorporated into sweetener. Refrigerate covered until ready to use.


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