Spring may not have quite sprung, but here on the lovely island of Jersey there are a few tentative signs that winter is beginning to recede; the first green shoots are beginning to break through the not-quite-so-frozen ground and the days are definitely starting to get longer (even if not that much warmer!). So to celebrate the beginning of a new year and those first signs of spring, we thought we’d share one of our favourite spring-time lavender recipes – Lavender Panna Cotta.
Panna Cotta, from the Italian for ‘cooked cream’, is a lovely simple dessert that adds an elegant touch to any meal (try it flavoured with dried fruits and winter spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and orange for a lighter Christmas dessert). It is generally believed to have originated in the Northern Italian region of Piedmont, although it is now eaten all over Italy and the rest of the world. It is not known exactly how or when this dessert originated, but this region is famous for its luscious cream which would have originally been eaten either plain or flavoured with fruit or nuts. Today panna cotta is set using gelatine, but early recipes often included a step where fish bones were boiled and the resulting mixture added to the cream. Boiling the bones would have extracted collagen which then turns to gelatine. But don’t worry our recipe is entirely fish bone boiling free!
To make our favourite Lavender Panna Cotta….
To serve 4 you will need:
- 3 leaves of gelatine
- 250ml milk
- 250ml double cream
- 25g caster sugar (or to taste)
- 1-2 teaspoons of our wonderful dried culinary lavender
- Place the milk, cream, sugar and lavender in a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, put a lid on and leave the mixture to infuse for 10-15 minutes.
- Whilst the milk/cream mixture is infusing, soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water.
- Once the mixture has infused, taste to check if it needs any more sugar and if you think the lavender flavour is strong enough. If you would like a stronger lavender flavour then add another teaspoon of lavender, reheat and leave to infuse for another 10 minutes. Once you are happy with the flavour of the mixture strain out the lavender and discard.
- After 10 minutes of soaking squeeze the water out of the gelatine and add to the warm cream, whisking until it has fully dissolved.
- Now simply divide the mixture between 4 ramekins, or other moulds, cover with clingfilm
- To serve simply dip the ramekins into a pan of hot water for a few seconds and turn the gorgeously lavender scented panna cotta out onto your serving plate.
We love our Lavender Panna Cotta served with a drizzle of peach and lemon coulis. Simply poach peaches in a sugar syrup infused with strips of lemon rind, until soft and then whiz the softened flesh up in a blender with some of the poaching syrup and a squeeze of lemon juice. Or if you can’t get hold of fresh peaches, simply whiz up canned peaches with a drizzle of the juice from the can and a good squeeze of lemon juice.