Fearless Lavender-Fig Panna Cotta

June 26, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This was dessert on a cooking class menu the other night. At the end of classes, I like to go around ask people what they now know that they didn't before. A couple of people mentioned that they were no longer afraid of using gelatin, and another said that she'd never really known how to use figs. Usually it's the lavender in something that people find unusual. Whatever, getting people past fears and opening their palates to a new flavor is just the best!

For those of you "afraid" of lavender, go be afraid of tornadoes, earthquakes, global warming. The relatively small amount of sweetening via honey lets the herbal notes of the lavender and rich fruitiness of the figs shine. Between the lavender and figs, also, the color is lovely. And the sour cream renders a very gentle texture. —boulangere

What You'll Need
  • 2 ounces cold water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces honey
  • Pinch of sea or kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic lavender buds
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • 6 dried figs, stems removed, sliced thin OR 2 fresh figs stemmed and sliced
  1. In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the cream, honey, salt, and lavender blossoms to a scald. Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes for the lavender to infuse the cream.
  2. If using dried figs, place slices in a bowl and cover with very hot tap water. Set a plate over the bowl to keep the heat in. Let figs steep for 15 minutes to fully soften.
  3. While lavender and figs are steeping, measure the cold water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface to let it bloom and set aside.
  4. When the lavender's 15 minutes are up, pour cream through a sieve into a mixing bowl. Discard lavender. Add gelatin whisk until completely dissolved. Dip the tips of your thumb and index finger into the cream and rub them together. If you feel any grittiness, return briefly to heat (DON'T let it boil!) while whisking. When gelatin is fully dissolved, the cream mixture should feel perfectly smooth.
  5. Measure sour cream into the bowl of a food processor or a mini-chop. Strain figs and add them as well. Purée until figs are as incorporated as possible - they won't purée completely, and that's fine. Add sour cream and figs to the cream mixture and whisk to blend.
  6. Divide panna cotta among 4 ramekins of any shape. You can also use shallow coffee cups, even wine glasses. Be aware that the deeper the container, the longer the panna cotta will take to set up. Generally, it should be ready to serve in about 3 hours. It can certainly be prepared a day in advance.
  7. Serve garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and a few of whatever berries are in season.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • TheGirlyGirlCooks
  • lorigoldsby
  • EmilyC
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly
  • boulangere

17 Reviews

TheGirlyGirlCooks June 28, 2011
This dessert was so delicious! I love how it complimented the sparkling white wine you served it with!
boulangere June 28, 2011
I'm so glad you liked it, thank you.
lorigoldsby June 27, 2011
Great combo...love lavender and love figs. Fig gelato is my favorite treat when we get to Italy, but I will try this combo at home!
boulangere June 27, 2011
Fig gelato sounds incredible! Thanks for the idea.
EmilyC June 27, 2011
I would never have thought to combine figs with lavender but I'll bet it's a lovely combo. And sour cream...yum!
boulangere June 27, 2011
As I mentioned a few comments ago, even I was surprised at the first taste of it. And the sour cream is just enough to take the edge off the touch of rubberiness that panna cotta can have.
Kitchen B. June 27, 2011
Oh thanks Boulangere,m I'll go be afraid of other things..........you've certainly 'tamed' lavender (and figs) for me! Gelatin I can cope with...anyday!
boulangere June 27, 2011
Great to hear!
boulangere June 26, 2011
Thanks! Even I was a little surprised by how good the combination of the figs and lavender was.
boulangere June 26, 2011
I'm on a lavender "mission" these days.
hardlikearmour June 26, 2011
boulangere June 26, 2011
I left my camera at work, so I'll get photos posted tomorrow.
hardlikearmour June 26, 2011
I ? lavender, figs, and panna cotta! Yum!
Sagegreen June 26, 2011
Me, too!
boulangere June 26, 2011
I hope the photos will capture what a lovely color it has.
Sagegreen June 26, 2011
Can't wait; I painted my bedroom a tanzanite color...love the purple and blues.
boulangere June 26, 2011
Well, don't get your hopes too high. Tanzanite is a stunning color, while this is merely, well, lovely.