Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lavender Panna Cotta

This recipe is a piece of panna cotta. Super easy, very delicious, and leads to many serving possibilities. I’ve only shown the simplest photos, with a few blackberries thrown on top, but this humble lavender panna cotta was also turned into a multi-component dessert. This started off with a bottom layer of berries that the panna cotta was poured over, then topped with white peaches, white chocolate cream, and finally salty cookie crumbles. Both versions have their merits, but in a pinch, the simpler will do and is just as satisfying.

One thing I will admit, I’m always worried when using floral flavors (rose water cheesecake) that the dessert will end up tasting like potpourri. It doesn’t. As long as you keep the ratio of cream to flower down, and I always put in a bit extra sugar, it turns out fine. And if it does taste like soap, at least it’s yummy, sugary soap.

Lavender Panna Cotta

3 c heavy cream

½ c sugar

3 sheets gelatin

Lavender leaves/buds from several branches

*a note before cooking: I look at lots of other foodblogs and epicurious.com to come up with my own recipe. Many call any mixture of cream, half and half, milk, or even water. I wanted to use only cream. They also vary on the amount of sugar relative to the amount of liquid, and I weigh in on the ‘more sugar is better’ mindset. You can adjust according to your own tastes. They also differ on adding the sugar before or after you simmer the cream, so it’s up to you to find a recipe you’re happy with.

Put the cream in a large pot and bring it to just under a boil (if you’ve cooked cream before, you will know that once it heats up, it can boil over very quickly, so keep an eye on it). Add the sugar and lavender, either adding the branches whole or brushing off the leaves and buds into the cream. Let it steep for about an hour.

This is one step that can really affect how strong the flavor is, so if you just want a hint, leave it for about 15 minutes. While you’re waiting, soak the gelatin leaves in cold water, enough to cover them. When the leaves are soft and the cream is ready, wring out the leaves, put them in a bowl, and strain the cream over the leaves. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Pour into individual cups and put in the fridge overnight until they are solid. To serve, sprinkle with some berries (or you can fancy them up).

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