Lavender and lemon are team players in this super easy luxurious dessert of lavender panna cotta with lemon syrup. A lovely mound of silky lavender-infused cream drizzled with a delicate lemon syrup.
The timeless Italian classic of ‘cooked cream’ has many variations with endless creative possibilities. Chocolate panna cotta or Vanilla with a caramel sauce are examples. Or try some unique flavors like a mâche, buttermilk or rose water panna cotta.
What Is Panna Cotta?
Panna cotta translates to ‘cooked cream’ in Italian. It is not a pudding or a custard which always include eggs to thicken them. Panna cotta is egg-less. It is a molded dessert of sweetened cream heated to almost a boil, flavored, then thickened with gelatin.
The mixture is poured into small individual ramekins or custard dishes and chilled until set. It is usually served up-ended from the mold onto a serving dish and garnished with, fruit or sauce. Don’t have ramekins or custard dishes? No problem! Here are some ideas to use for molds:
- Muffin tin (we love this muffin tin, not an affiliate link)
- Espresso cups
- Small tea cups
- 8-ounce Tupperware containers
It isn’t an absolute law to serve panna cotta in a mold. It looks beautiful in a clear parfait glass or wine glass. Try layering the mixture with a fruit purée or sauce. First, add a portion of panna cotta and when it is firm, add a layer of purée and another layer of panna cotta. Then garnish with the subject fruit. The result is a stunning dessert with the layers showing through the clear glass container.
The secret for a perfect panna cotta:
The secret to creating a perfect panna cotta that is silky smooth on the tongue is the ratio of liquid to gelatin. An envelope of unflavored gelatin will have about 2 1/2 teaspoons/7g of gelatin and will firmly set 2 cups of liquid.
Increasing the liquid to 2-1/2 cups to one envelope of gelatin makes the difference between a stiff tower of jello and a luxuriously silky, slightly wobbly panna cotta.
It is really important to get the proportions correct. We are not making jello so please don’t use the proportions given to you on the back of the gelatin package. Panna cotta has a much more delicate texture than jello and using the wrong proportion of gelatin will ruin the texture of the panna cotta.
How to make Lavender Panna Cotta with Lemon Syrup:
Panna Cotta is one of the easiest and most elegant desserts on the planet. This impressive Italian molded dessert is rich and a delight to the senses. It is also in the same calorie-laden category as a creme brûlée or tiramisu and enjoyed on special occasions.
There are many versions of this classic Italian dessert of “cooked cream”. In our version, we have combined dried lavender blooms and a delicate drizzle of lemon syrup. Although the Italian creation of panna cotta is made with 100% cream we prefer a less rich version that combines the cream with whole milk.
- Add 1/4 cup of water to a small dish and sprinkle the contents of one envelope of powdered gelatin over the top. Do not dump them in the water as the granules will not dissolve.
- Let the gelatin sit for 5-10 minutes to bloom.
- Add the cream, milk and sugar to a saucepan and bring almost to a boil. When you see small bubbles forming on the inside rim of the pan, remove it from the heat.
- Add the lavender buds to the cream mixture, stir to combine and cover. Let sit and steep for 10-minutes.
- Place the dish of bloomed gelatin in the microwave and zap it for 5-10 seconds until melted and syrupy.
- Add the gelatin to the cream and stir to combine.
- Set a fine-mesh strainer over another bowl and strain the mixture. Discard the lavender blooms.
- Let the strained mixture cool to lukewarm.
- Lightly coat four 6-ounce custard dishes or selected mold with oil-spray.
- Pour the cooled mixture into the custard dishes, and refrigerate 4-8 hours or overnight until set.
It is critical to let the cream mixture cool to lukewarm before pouring into the molds. A hot mixture will cause some of the gelatin to settle in a clear layer on the bottom of the dish.
How to make the Lemon Syrup:
Our lemon syrup is a basic simple syrup made with equal parts of sugar and fresh lemon juice.
- Combine the lemon juice and the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10-minutes.
- Cool to lukewarm then add to a pitcher.
How to remove the lavender panna cotta from the mold:
- Run a knife around the inside edges of the set panna cotta dishes.
- Working with one dish at a time, place the dish into warm water for 10-seconds.
- Lift the dish from the water and with moist fingers, gently pull the gelatin away from the edge of the mold.
- Cover with a moist serving plate.
- Flip the plate over and carefully lift off the dish.
If the panna cotta does not release, lift the dish slightly and slide the tip of a paring knife about 1/2-inch at the inside edge of the dish in one area only. This will release the vacuum and the panna cotta should slide out.
Serving the Lavender Panna Cotta with Lemon Syrup:
Drizzle each serving with lemon syrup. Break up some fresh lavender blooms and scatter on the lemon syrup. Garnish each serving with lavender blooms.
This elegant molded dessert is a perfect ending to any dinner. It is an easy, make-ahead dessert that you can put together in minutes and keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.
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For the Lavender Panna Cotta:
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 envelope gelatine
- 1-3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 tablespoon dried lavender buds
For the Lemon Syrup:
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
For the Lavender Panna Cotta:
- Lightly coat four, 6-ounce custard dishes with non-stick oil and reserve.
- In a small dish, add the water and sprinkle with gelatin and let sit 5-10 minutes to bloom.
- Add the cream, milk and sugar to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat almost to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat; stir in the lavender buds and cover. Let stand and steep for 10 minutes.
- Set the dish of gelatin in the microwave and zap for ten seconds until it is a thin syrup. Add the gelatin to the cream mixture, stirring well to combine.
- Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into another bowl, discard the lavender buds. Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm.
- Stir the mixture and pour into four 6-ounce custard dishes or molds. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 2-4 hours or overnight until firmly set.
For the Lemon Syrup:
- In a small saucepan, set over medium heat, combine the lemon juice and sugar together. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-minutes to reduce slightly.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool before adding to a lidded jar, then refrigerate until ready to use. The syrup will thicken when cool.
To Serve the Panna Cotta with Lemon Syrup:
- To release the set panna cotta, run a knife around the inside edge of the gelled panna cotta. Working with one dish at a time, place the dish into warm water for 10-seconds.
- Lift from the water and with moist fingers, gently pull the gelatin away from the edge of the mold. Cover with a moist serving plate. Flip the plate over and carefully lift off the dish.
- Place moistened serving plate on top of mold. Gently remove mold and drizzle the lemon syrup over the top.
- Break up some fresh lavender blooms and scatter on the syrup. Garnish each serving with lavender blooms
- Cook the cream just until small bubbles begin to appear at the edge of the pan. Do not boil the cream.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the liquid. Do not dump them in a pile, as the granules in the middle won’t dissolve.
- Milk or cream can also be used to bloom the gelatin but it will take longer to dissolve.
- If using the microwave to heat the bloomed gelatin give it short 2-second bursts until syrupy.
- The gelatin can also be heated by setting the dish in a pan of hot water.
- Pour the mixture into a pitcher or container with a pourable spout then fill the custard dishes.
- Moistening the serving plate will make it easier in the event the panna cotta needs to be repositioned on the plate.
- The lemon syrup can be made thicker by reducing the volume. Be cautious to not let it burn. The syrup will thicken as it cools.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 656 Total Fat 40g Saturated Fat 25g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 12g Cholesterol 124mg Sodium 63mg Carbohydrates 74g Fiber 0g Sugar 73g Protein 5g