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call me a pom pom girl

Recipe: pomegranate lemon panna cotta

Pom poms. I was not and could never have been a cheerleader in high school. I did not wear a skirt and bloomers in the fall. I wore a kilt and bloomers (boxers if coach let us) and shin guards and a mouth guard and I carried a big stick. I played field hockey. In college, I traded my shin guards for knee pads and played volleyball… A LOT. Indoor sixes, fours, triples, doubles, and outdoor grass doubles. It’s the California way. And while I miss the burning lungs from summer smog and playing an entire tournament on half a bagel and a banana, my jogbra tan – which I thought was permanent – has finally faded away. But, I am never wanting for things to do around here.

i like bumps

jeremy: beaming at breck

Jeremy and I worked over the long weekend (you will undoubtedly notice the slight change in format), but did take a day out to ski Breckenridge and it was fan-fricking-tastic! When we got home, we enjoyed a well-deserved treat that I had made earlier in the week with one of Jeremy’s favorite fruits. Janny, of POM Wonderful, had asked me last month if I would like to sample some of her company’s pomegranate juice. Absolutely. I had just purchased a 1.8 liter bottle of the stuff for the guy. Quel coinkydink.

ridiculously shaped, but very cute little bottles

I was mulling over what recipe to make with the pomegranate juice and my various ski betties suggested cocktails or reduction sauces to accompany meat as we rode the lifts up. But when I opened the box at home, I knew what I wanted to do with the tart and deep red juice. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, pomegranate juice is incredibly good for you. I actually avoided it during my chemotherapy because you don’t want superdoses of antioxidants to counter the effects of the chemo.

a little lemon zest

gelatin softening over lemon juice

To be honest, my original incarnation of this recipe was with lemon and passion fruit. Seeing as passion fruit is exorbitantly expensive here (I stand there fondling them every time I go to Whole Foods, but can never get past paying $2 per fruit), and the precious pomegranate juice had just arrived at my doorstep…

adding non-fat plain yogurt

pouring the lemon panna cotta into glasses

The panna cotta recipe I was using called for crème fraîche, which I didn’t have on hand. I subbed plain non-fat yogurt which in my head was supposed to even out the heavy cream and whole milk (right!). Hey – you have your delusions, let me keep mine. Those phenomenal bombe molds I have worked beautifully at holding the juice glasses at the right angle. I love when things can have multiple uses. It justifies the purchase that much more for me.

pomegranate jello

I made pomegranate jello with the juice and attempted to layer it with the panna cotta. It looks pretty, but all of the waiting for things to set and pouring and tilting got a little tiresome. This is not a recipe for the impatient (I am impatient). Well, the recipe is fine for anyone if you want to do the standard dual layer deal. What I mean is if you want to make all of the tilting layers, then keep in mind that it won’t be a fast assembly.

another pomegranate layer

Pomegranate juice can be sweet or tart or anywhere in between. This batch was on the tart side, so I added a teaspoon of sugar to the gelatin which was enough to enhance the flavors without making it *sweet*. It should be relatively tart because when eaten with the creamy panna cotta everything strikes that perfect balance. Jeremy thought it was perfect and I quite liked the combination – light, creamy, refreshing, a little zing from the pomegranate and yogurt. It’s my new favorite panna cotta recipe.

a pretty bite

much easier

Pomegranate Lemon Panna Cotta
[print recipe]
modified from Epicurious

lemon panna cotta
5 tbsps lemon juice
2 tsps powdered unflavored gelatin
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsps lemon peel, grated
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the lemon juice and let sit for ten minutes until softened. Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan and heat until warm. When the gelatin is softened, stir it into the milk with the sugar and stir over low heat until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon peel, yogurt, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour into serving glasses (only half of 3/4 way) and refrigerate.

pomegranate gelatin
2 oz. water, boiling hot
1 1/2 tsp powdered unflavored gelatin
8 oz. pomegranate juice
1 tsp sugar (optional)

Stir the gelatin and hot water together until the gelatin has dissolved. Pour the pomegranate juice and sugar (if using) into the mixture and stir. When the panna cotta has firmed (depending on size of glass, but be sure not to take it out too early) pour a layer of pomegranate gelatin over each panna cotta and let set up in refrigerator.

88 nibbles at “call me a pom pom girl”

  1. Irene says:

    My mom used to make dual layer jello in tilted glasses – one layer sour cream panna cotta and one layer strawberry jello – I really needed that shot of childhood memories on a cold and rainy day like this!

  2. Caitlin says:

    I’m in awe of anyone who even *thinks* they have enough patience to do the tilted layers. I see that and immediately decide that I like flat. What can I say, I grew up in Indiana – flat’s in my blood!

  3. Maja says:

    beauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutiful!!!! :D i think i’ll replicate, at least the concept, i love it, it’s really pretty … i don’t know about pomegranate juice, hard to get bottled :D, but there are other red juices with exciting flavours, thank you for the idea! :) and your valentine’s post was really moving, thank you for that! :) happy belated valentines day to all of you from accross the world … oh, and congrats to the winner of the knife … in my culture it’s bad luck to accept knives as gifts so you have to give the person giving you the knife some money, just a cent or two, just as a symbolic act of purchase :)

  4. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy says:

    I’m not a big panna cotta lover (I know, being in Italy) but I like the fact you substituted yogurt – somehow that makes it more appealing to me and something to try! And I love the slanted/tilted look, even if it was a lot of trouble :)

  5. Lulu says:


  6. Margie says:

    Beautiful! …. will I be considered a failure if I admit that I have never made, nor eaten panna cotta? Somehow I know all of this is about to change.

  7. Asianmommy says:

    I love your tilted layers–so pretty!

  8. Rosa says:

    What pretty panna cotta! I love the presentation! Lovely!



  9. Pam says:

    They look amazing!

  10. Monique says:

    How do you keep the remaining substances un-gelled (is there such a word?) while waiting for the layers to firm up?

  11. Home with Mandy says:

    I am not as patient, but I love the look when you tilted the glasses. How cute would this be at a bridal party? Heck, ANY party!!

  12. mycookinghut says:

    So delicious and pretty looking!! I like pom pom too!

  13. Manisha says:

    And congrats– best 50 food blogs in the world! Woohoo!

  14. Rita says:

    I love this recipe! I am trying to make desserts that aren’t too bad for us and this fits the bill perfectly! I am not sure mine would come out as pretty as yours though..Thanks for sharing.

  15. jennywenny says:

    MMm. I think i actually prefer the easier version with the blocks of colour. Very pretty and delicious.

  16. knitopia says:

    How pretty!

  17. Passionate Eater says:

    Wowza. The “much easier” version is just as purty.

  18. Lan says:

    you’re slightly my hero. i am not a fan of pomegranate however, if this were served to me, i would gobble it up. the presentation is exceptional.

  19. Val says:

    They look so tasty! I always have a moment of silence each year when the last of the seasons pomegranates disappear. Apparently you can’t OD on them because I’ll sit & eat 1, sometimes 2, a day. sigh..

    I have a huge bottle of pure pomegranate juice from Costco sitting in my fridge now that’s been calling to me, so this is it’s moment. Thanks for sharing your recipe. ;o}

  20. toontz says:

    Those are just beautiful! But I am impatient too, so probably would have to do the quick version.

  21. Lauren says:

    Stunning recipe and I love using Pom Wonderful to cook! My favorite use for it is this sorbet
    and there is a recipe in a Bobby Flay cookbook that uses it in a marinade that I am dying to try, come BBQ season.

    It’s those pictures that you took at Breck that have me drooling the most though. I was out there last year (my boyfriend’s whole company moved there for a month) and it was so amazing! I am seething with jealousy. Is that your “home slope”?

  22. Linda says:

    oooh that looks absolutely stunning. I’m sure it tasted just as good as it looked.

  23. Amy says:

    The tilted layers are beautiful — and I bet it was the perfect contrast between tart and creamy sweet. I love pomegranate juice too, and panna cotta; I definitely have to make this. :)

  24. peabody says:

    Mine is on it’s way, but in no way will I be making anything as beautiful as that. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!

  25. Jake Outlaw says:

    Gorgeous, gonna have to try this one out for sure.

  26. Kathy says:

    It looks stunning!

  27. Kathleen says:

    how freaking smart is this!

    one of those, damn I wish I’d thought of it.

  28. Eat. Travel. Eat! says:

    This looks beautiful and gorgeous. The tilting multiple layers make a very interesting and amazing look to the glass, but the regular two layer also looks great too! I like both.

  29. finsmom says:

    I had pannacotta for the first time on Valentines day, as my husband made me a raspberry one (see my blog :) ). Yours looks absolutly heavenly! I really love the multiple layers. Such a gorgeous picture!!!

  30. charlane says:

    oh man….so yummy. I want it all right this minute in my tummy

  31. Whitney says:

    Such a work of art. Love the pictures.

  32. StuffCooksWant says:

    I LOVE it! Looks like those desserts from the 70’s where they layered pudding and whipping cream. I think I even remember commercially-available desserts like that. What were they called…Dream something? Maybe not…I was pretty young, but I know my mom made some at home.

    Not to compare your delicious looking pom/lemon panna cotta with the stuff from the 70’s…please! They thought Chef Boy-R-Dee was a chef, which he so clearly was not. Can’t wait to try these. Have made vanilla panna cotta with fresh raspberry sauce, and my boys gobbled it up. Sure they’ll love the flavor twist with this one! Thanks!

  33. Tartelette says:

    You know my love or tilted panna cottas and I love the multi layered effect of these! There is something about pomegranate that is so close to the perfect gemstone color!
    I however passed on the POM offer (as well as the battery bedroom toy sollicitation emails), I think I would have mixed quite a few cocktails before getting on to using it!!

  34. Dragana says:

    Lovely dessert, beautiful pictures.
    I’m so envious of you – you get to ski so often. We’re in for 4 days at Crested Butte during Spring Break. Can’t wait!

  35. JessW says:

    Yum. I didn’t know it was possible but for some reason, this just made me crave springtime even more! :)

  36. Happy Cook says:

    Wow they look so beautiful.

  37. Diana says:

    When I first saw this on Tastespotting it reminded me of those swirly peppermint candies. That it’s pomegranate makes it even better. Beautiful photos.

  38. farmerpam says:

    Love the skiing pics, remind me of my days in Telluride, ever get there? And such an awesome dessert, too pretty to eat.

  39. Culinarywannabe says:

    Beautiful! Impatience aside – these were well worth it!

  40. Aran says:

    congrats to you too my dear on that Times article. yay! and what can I say? I love panna cotta!

  41. Debbie says:

    They look beautiful. I am impatient too, so I know how you feel!

  42. Patricia Scarpin says:

    I love the vibrant, powerful color of the juice and how beautiful it looks with the white layers, Jen. What an amazing dessert!

    Oh, and volleyball – my little sis (15 now) plays it at school and I think she has potential for going pro. I loved volleyball as a kid/teen, but was too short for that. Little sis inherited other genes, I guess – she’s going taller everyday!

  43. Pomme says:

    OH but the tilting layers lookd so beautiful!!! I’m not patient either, but I’d be happy (okay, maybe not happy, but willing) to wait for such a beautiful result! That might be my first attempt at panacota actually (yes, i confess, never tried to make panacotta).
    By the way using low fat yoghurt DO counteract cream and full fat milk, doesn’t it? DOESN’T IT!?!?

  44. Kathy O. says:

    Gorgeous pictures …

  45. Adrienne says:

    love the action shots when you’re pouring the pom juice and gelatin. i think the layered ones look gorgeous and it’s cool how you can make each one a little different with a different angled tilt. beautiful!

  46. Manggy says:

    As many observant people who read my blog know, I love me some stripes :) These look whimsically elegant if that makes any sense (it does!). The thing is back at home gelatin won’t set at room temperature! I have to do all the pouring in the fridge. Annoying!
    Congratulations on the Times mention! :)

  47. Nicole says:

    Like the new format! And your pom shots look so yummy!

  48. anh says:

    So I was surfing the net when I found you on this list! =)

  49. Jie says:

    I love your ideas for those beautiful desserts.
    the passion fruit they are selling at the whole food market is not very fresh. I tried once, but they came out dry and sour. Don’t waste money on that, although i know the unit fragrance that bring by the fruit is really charming.

  50. Chez US says:

    Beautiful dessert – I love panna cotta but never make it. Inspired!

  51. Angela says:

    I love pomegranates and this dessert looks so special. I can’t wait to serve it to my friends.

  52. Alisa@foodista says:

    That is beautiful! I followed you here from the list in times online! What amazing pictures you have! I’ll definitely be back to read more :)

  53. Veronica says:

    They look great! Pretty desserts and great pictures! And btw, your’s is the only blog I actually bother to read the “non-food” part of the post. Others talk forever about boring stuff, you stop at the right time. And write very well. :)

  54. Lori says:

    Love the crimson and white combo! Beautiful butter!

  55. Nate says:

    Congratulations on getting mentioned in the Times Online! You’re in good company.

  56. Juliana says:

    I love panna cotta, for sure I’ll try this recipe, besides being very pretty, pomegranate as you mention is loaded of good thing, so a little of it will only do good. And your pictures are just so beautiful, congrats!

  57. elra says:

    This is truly the prettiest panna cotta I’ve ever seen. Thank you for showing us the trick, now I don’t have to wonder, how did she do that?

  58. jen! says:

    my first ever time making panna cotta, i used the recipe you used when you made the espresso panna cotta. i can’t wait to try this yogurt one– incredibly beautiful! love the deep red against the creamy white.

    ps. i think you’re amazing! you’ve kept this blog up for some time, and it is still as compelling for me as the first day i stumbled upon it!

  59. cindy says:

    i love yogurt panna cotta and the layers are gorgeous…so whimsical!

  60. Mollie says:

    Oh my god… gorgeous as usual! I think it’s funny you say you’re impatient, because you SAY it but then you do these amazingly beautiful things that I would seriously wind up dying an agonizing death over rather than wait out all the steps… :) You’re a far better woman than I Jen! They look amazing tho… mmmm I love the pom!

  61. Tarah says:

    Stunning, as always. This literally just takes my breath away.

  62. Kitt says:

    Wow. Just wow.

  63. jenyu says:

    Irene – yes, this recipe is incredibly versatile. What a lucky kid you were to have such fun desserts at home!

    Caitlin – ha ha, flat is muuuuch easier to be sure. I would really have to like my guests (or have a lot of spare time) to make the tilted layers again (one tilt, okay, but five?!)

    Maja – you can absolutely use other red (or not red) juices. I think it’s just fun to play with stuff that molds. Thanks for the tip. In my culture, it’s clocks – you can’t give clocks because the words sound like paying your last respects :)

    Sara – the yogurt ads a nice bit of tang to the otherwise creamy panna cotta. It’s quite nice!

    Lulu – thanks!

    Margie – nope! I didn’t have my first panna cotta until I moved here 3.5 years ago!

    Asianmommy – thank you :)

    Rosa – thanks, dear.

    Pam – thank you.

    Monique – that is a very good question. My house was pretty warm that day and so the contents remained in mostly liquid state. However, I did have to warm the pomegranate jello a little bit for the last layer – I just put it on half power in the microwave for a few seconds at a time.

    Home w/ Mandy – I like the look of the tilted ones, until I have to make them ;)

    MCH – :)

    Manisha – thanks love, you always keep me up to date!

    Rita – great!

    Jennywenny – I definitely prefer making the easier ones :)

    Knitopia – thanks!

    PE – it certainly doesn’t make me see stripes everywhere.

    Lan – thank you, that’s very flattering :)

    Val – I love pomegranates, but the seeds lodge themselves in one of my molars… makes me nuts.

    Toontz – hee hee.

    Lauren – oh, sorbet would be delightful. Breck is about an hour and a half from our house. My home slope is Eldora Mountain Resort (a great family ski resort), but sometimes (often) we like the big mountains!

    Linda – hmmm, perhaps better?

    Amy – thank you and I hope you like it as much as we did.

    Peabody – oh, pshaw! I bet yours will be droolworthy no matter what.

    Jake – thanks!

    Kathy – thank you.

    Kathleen – you can always make it and tell your friends that you did!

    ETE – me too :)

    Finsmom – nice, and your hubby made it? Even better, you lucky girl!

    Charlane – ha ha, it’s pretty quick to put together.

    Whitney – thank you.

    StuffCooksWant – yeah, it felt a little kitschy ;)

    Tartelette – I hear ya. The color is mesmerizing, especially the raw fruit seeds – just beautiful. And it was hard for me to make anything else as we drank the rest of the juice, it’s so lovely.

    Dragana – have fun at Crusty Butt! It’s a gorgeous place. I’ve never skied there though!

    JessW – funny that, but certain winter/fall fruits make me think of spring/summer too!

    Happy Cook – thank you.

    Diana – thanks!

    Farmerpam – I love Telluride, but I’ve never skied there. It’s quite a hoof from here, but that place is very very special.

    Culinarywannabe – thanks.

    Aran – who doesn’t love panna cotta? ;) Thanks for the congrats, miss #2!!! xxoo

    Debbie – glad I’m not the only one :)

    Patricia – thank you, love. Wow, I hope your sis takes it far. It’s so much fun. I’ll bet she’s got a good jump and good height too!

    Pomme – that’s what I keep telling myself, but my hips don’t seem to listen. Panna cotta is easy, I hope you’ll try it.

    Kathy O – thank you.

    Adrienne – I actually tried to make each one similar, but I was unsuccessful at getting the angles right ;)

    Mark – I just imagined you sitting in a human-sized panna cotta, blending in with your camo strips on! ha ha ha. Thanks, sweetie.

    Nicole – thank you!

    Anh – yes, thanks for the link :) I appreciate all of you giving me the heads up!

    Jie – one day I’ll find myself some passionfruit :)

    Chez Us – definitely try it, hon. It’s easy peasy.

    Angela – great, I hope they love it.

    Alisa – thanks, great to have you.

    Veronica – awww, that is so nice of you to say. Thanks… which means now I’ll worry about when to shut up ;)

    Lori – ;)

    Nate – thank you, hon!

    Juliana – yup, I’m so glad it’s good for you because that makes me feel better about eating or drinking it! Thank you.

    Elra – you’re welcome :)

    Jen! – you’re so sweet! Thanks and you’ll have to tell me when things get dull over here.

    Cindy – whimsical is a great word to describe it.

    Mollie – ah well, that’s because you don’t hear me cussing when I make the stuff that requires patience. ;)

    Tarah – thanks!

    Kitt – ;)

  64. Tuquynh says:

    Making this tonight! so excited! I’m horribly impatient too so I don’t know if I’ll survive the wait time needed to do this properly…

  65. Grace says:

    Wow, these are striking. I spotted your pic on Tastespotting last night and ran out today to pick up some pomegranate juice this morning. My daughter loves them and I’ve never found a recipe to use them in. This is perfect, can’t wait to make them tomorrow, better yet can’t wait to indulge. Thank you for sharing! I am going to attempt the tilting, wish me luck, I’m thinking maybe an empty egg carton might do the trick.

  66. Allyson N. Jason says:

    Oh wow. The panna cotta is very beautiful. I love the titled, alternating scarlet and cream layers. Very inspiring, whimsical and vibrant! I’ll have to try this recipe in the near future and experiment with setting up layers and using different flavor combinations or profiles.

    …and I -love- pomegranate.

  67. kirsten says:

    I have a question… this looks so soooo good and i LOVE lemon! Just a question about the gelatin mixtures- they don’t set in teh bowl while your (beautiful) tilted glasses are in teh fridge?

  68. jenyu says:

    Kirsten – well, the POM mixture did, so I had to keep it in a relatively warm place in the house to prevent setting. So yeah, definitely keep them liquid if you can :)

  69. Tenina says:

    It was so worth the fiddle, they look awesome….have just done a mandarin creme with almond panna cotta, in a similar way, but only two layers…sooooo pretty. Will appear in my calendar next year.

  70. Carolina Garofani says:

    Can’t help clicking on the picture every time I see it on the TasteSpotting header. It’s just too pretty! I shall try the recipe soon!

  71. Crystal says:

    I made these for a dinner party I hosted over the summer. They were a hit! I’m planning on making these again for my family tomorrow.

    Out of curiosity, how many servings did you get out of your recipe? I ended up doubling mine for the party, 10 people, and I still came up slightly short.

  72. jenyu says:

    Crystal – I think my glasses are 5 oz. so I probably made 6 of those and then 3 or 4 of the tall shot glass styles (1.5 oz I think).

  73. tania says:

    Lovely! I like it so mush :)

  74. Kristi says:

    Looks delicious for sure. I’ve always thought those Pom bottles are super cute myself, and full of antioxidents! :)

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  77. Tanja says:

    Sieht so toll aus. Sooooo klasse! Könnte ich doch das Rezept nur auf deutsche haben!!!!!! Ich weiß auch nicht, was heavy creme ist???????

    Lieben Gruß


  78. jenyu says:

    Tanja – whipping cream (higher fat content)

  79. DarleneW says:

    Perfect finish to our dinner party. Everyone loved these! We served it with a chilled champagne. Fantastic together.
    It went perfectly after our braised Chianti beef short ribs & lemon rissoto with green beans and julienned carrots.

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  85. Jane says:

    hey! I just made the recipe but seems the gelatine doesn’t set and get firm. :( What am I doing wrong? How long should I wait for it to get firm? Thanks

  86. jenyu says:

    Jane – I can’t tell you what you’re doing wrong if you don’t tell me what you did. If it isn’t firm after 4 hours, then perhaps increase your gelatin or make sure it hasn’t separated out.

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  88. Tania says:

    Recently I did a Moroccan themed dinner party for friends and made this dessert.. WOW, WOW, WOW!! It was delicious and the tang from the combination was refreshing after a rich tagine. I even managed the swirls of sorts. Was I could post my photo. I added some crushed pistachios and mint leaves as garnish as well. Adding this to my favorite recipes list.

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