Lavender Panna Cotta with Peaches, Berries, Basil and a Hint of Mint

By • July 1, 2013 • 5 Comments

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Author Notes: I thank NPR and Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s Splendid Table for my discovery of Panna Cotta. Kasper included this sublimely simple, yet luscious dessert recipe in a cooking demonstration back in 2008 at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI at the launch of her book, How to Eat Supper. I’ve adopted this recipe as a favorite dessert standby, using its proportions as the basis for my own variations.

With lavender in full bloom in the garden, what better flavor bouquet for peaches and cream and raspberries brightened with a hint of fresh mint and basil leaves? A touch of cinnamon and lavender extract in the cream deepens the flavors. Ten minutes to prep, set and ready to serve out of the fridge in four hours. The full effect: a texture akin to soft ice cream. Yummy.
Vivian Henoch

Serves 6 to 8

Yummy Lavender Panna Cotta

  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1.5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/5 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed lavender flowers
  • 1 teaspoon lavender extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • pinches salt
  • pinches cinnamon

Peach and Raspberry Topping

  • 1 fresh peach, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mint leaves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 splash lemon
  1. To prepare the panna cotta: In a small cup, mix two tablespoons of cold water and the gelatin, and let it stand for about 5 minutes
  2. In a 3-quart saucepan, warm the cream with the sugar, salt, crushed lavender and lavender extract over medium-high heat. (Do not boil.) Stir in the gelatin until dissolved. Take the cream off the heat and let cool.
  3. Place the sour cream in a medium bowl; add the warm cream a little at a time, and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into ramekins or a serving bowl. Chill for 4 hours. (Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.)
  4. For the peachy topping: in a small saucepan, gently heat crushed raspberries and honey; add sliced fresh peaches, minced mint and basil leaves. Remove from heat immediately as fruit releases juices.
  5. An alternative: garnish panna cotta with fresh sliced peaches and berries. Drizzle honey on the fruit, and finish with a sprinkling of the herbs.

Comments (5) Questions (0)

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Eliz_and_esme

10 months ago TaoistCowgirl

Thanks so much for the info! I'm going to give it a try.

Eliz_and_esme

10 months ago TaoistCowgirl

This looks completely gorgeous and delicious! What kind of lavender is best? I have French and English lavender in my garden and I'm not sure which one I should use. Also, can you make the extract or do you have to buy it?

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10 months ago Vivian Henoch

TaoistCowgirl,
Thank you for your notice and your questions, both of which sent me to the internet for some info for you. I used English lavender, which as it turns out is the choice most often used for flavoring oils, butters an sugar. With that said, I just used the crushed flowers for garnish and can't say how much actual flavor they may have added to the recipe. For the cream I used a pure lavender extract, by the brand name Star Kay White, purchased in a gourmet market (Papa Joe's in Detroit suburb, Birmingham, MI.) With that said, there's a little "measure to taste" in this, which I should add to the instruction - once the contest ends. Another matter of taste and flavor : I would also recommend using the minced basil and mint leaves as garnish or last-minute finish over the compote-like peach-berry topping, rather than heat them with the fruit. I assembled the dessert -- for the photo -- and must admit that on day two in the fridge the herbs didn't hold up. For company and presentation to guests -- the panna cotta is best made a half-day ahead, and finished with the fruit shortly before serving. oh yes, turns out that lavender extract can be easily made -- sealing the flowers soaked in vodka in a mason jar, and shaking once a day for 8 days. Instructions are readily available online.

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10 months ago susan g

How beautiful!

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10 months ago Vivian Henoch

Thank you Susan G. If / when you plan to use this recipe, you may want to note another comment I added regarding the mix of herbs and flavoring.