Now that we’ve seen the first inklings of spring, I thought it would be nice to make a not-too-heavy, not-too-sweet dessert to pair with some sunshine and [the hope for] warmer weather. Although you might assume that I used a hydrocolloid to make the gel-like panna cotta and a modified soy protein to create the foam, but this recipe is actually something your great grandmother could have made. In fact, I used a basic panna cotta recipe from Epicurious as my starting point. One of the keys to this recipe is to use really great cream and half and half – find the best stuff you can at a farmers market or a discerning grocery store.
Makes: 8 servings
Total kitchen time: 30 mins working + 4 hours refrigerating
For the panna cotta
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 32 drops lemon extract
For the candied lemon supremes
- 1 Meyer lemon, supremed
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. water
For the coconut foam
- 1 13oz. can light coconut milk
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 drop lavender essential oil (one drop goes a long way, but feel free to adjust to taste)
- Shaved coconut (available in the bulk foods section of finer grocery stores)
- Edible flowers
- Shaved white chocolate
- Add the water to a small saucepan and sprinkle over the gelatin to bloom. After it has been hydrated for 1 minute or so, heat on low and stir until it forms a fluid. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat the cream, half and half and sugar to a simmer over moderate heat until, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in lemon extract and gelatin mixture.
- Divide the heated cream base among 8 muffin molds (or ramekins) and transfer to the refrigerator until fully chilled, at least 4 hours.
- To make the candied lemon, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Add the lemon supremes and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, flipping once.
- When you’re ready so serve, beat the coconut milk together with sugar and lavender essential oil in a medium bowl using a whisk or an electric mixer.
- To remove the panna cotta from their molds, I like to use my cooking torch. With the torch on its lowest setting, quickly heat the outside of each metal mold, spending just a few seconds on each one. The panna cotta should slip right out. Alternately, heat the molds in a little warm water and run your knife around the inside to loosen.
- Garnish the panna cotta with coconut foam, candied lemon, shaved coconut, shaved white chocolate and edible flowers.