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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Yogurt #1

Yogurt was first created by central Asian people around 6000 B.C, when they discovered it, accidently, as a result of milk being stored by primitive methods in warm climate. The bacteria developed made milk thick and the product last longer than milk itself.

It was first industrialized in Spain, in 1919 and later in 1933 fruit jam was added to it for more sweet taste. 

Health benefits 
Yogurt is beneficial to our health in many ways, since it is rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B6 and B12. As a result, it strengthens our teeth and bones, reduce the risk of high blood pressure and can promote weight loss.

Types of yogurt
It is available in many varieties to suit every taste and lifestyle. There is non fat (0%), low fat (2%) and whole milk yogurt (4%). We may enjoy yogurt with fruit, fruit jam, honey, nuts or grains.  The most common type of yogurt is strained yogurt and especially Greek strained yogurt.

Advantages of Greek strained yogurt 
Along with the health benefits, that I have already mentioned above, the probiotics that are contained in greek yogurt, increase the good vacteria in your gut and protect it from various diseases. Compared to other yogurts, greek strained yogurt has twice the protein and is a more concentrated source of probiotics. Its whey has been removed, so the result is 40% less sugar and 38% less sodium than other type of yogurt.

Usage in cooking 
The creamy, thick texture of strained yogurt makes it ideal for every recipe. You can prepare many types of sauces and dips (cold or warm) such as tzatziki, the famous greek yogurt sauce made with the addition of grated cucumber, olive oil, salt and mashed garlic. Replacing mayonnaise with yogurt in any sauce, will make your salad or dish healthier. Beetroot salad is another famous greek salad, made with boiled beetroots, yogurt, olive oil, vinegar and garlic .Lots of traditional pies contain yogurt in their dough or their filling (yogurt pie).  You may also make yogurt béchamel and, fully or partially, replace cheese, milk or cream in a dessert recipe as cheesecake or any type of low fat desserts.

Greek Yogurt panna cotta with fig sauce

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1 envelope gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy cream (35% )
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Vanilla essence (one tube)
  • 500 gr strained Greek yogurt 0%, 2% or 4% fat
  • 10-12 fresh figs ( or fig jam if you don’t find fresh figs)
  • 1 cup of rum
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar


 In a saucepan, bring the cream, sugar and vanilla essence to a simmer.

Off the heat, stir in the gelatin until melted  

In a bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth

Gradually whisk in the cream and pour the mixture into 6 ramekins or small bowls. Refrigerate until set, at least 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, simmer 8-10 melted fresh figs (or the fig jam) in a cup of rum an add 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar over low heat, until the sugar melts. Let cool.

Serve each panna cotta with the fig sauce and slices of a fresh fig and enjoy a delicious and healthy low fat dessert!

Stavroula Economaki | Food Writer
photos: Stavroula Economaki

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