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.
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
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.
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.)
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.
An alternative: garnish panna cotta with fresh sliced peaches and berries. Drizzle honey on the fruit, and finish with a sprinkling of the herbs.