While this dessert wasn't part of my lavender-cardamom extravaganza with Meeta of What's for Lunch, Honey?, panna cotta came up in our original discussion of lavender-inspired desserts, and I just couldn't get the idea out of my head. I was especially struck by the combination of lavender and pomegranate, which, for some reason, my flavor instincts kept telling me would make for a wonderful pairing. So here it is: lavender-honey panna cotta with pomegranate jelly and fresh pomegranate seeds.
There's something about the rustic floral scent of the lavender that matches up so well with the earthy sweetness of the pomegranate, especially when enhanced by the delicately complex flavor of wildflower honey. And cream. Nothing makes me happier than finding someone else who appreciates the virtues of good ol' proper heavy cream. Wait--I take that back. If you top it all off with generous mounds of fresh pomegranate seeds, bursting with juices and flavor and color--then, then I'll truly be in heaven.
A few days ago, I had a couple friends over for a simple soup+salad+sandwich dinner just to celebrate fall and some of the progress we've been making at work. I've been really trying to learn how to do simple food for dinner guests (as opposed to some of my, er, more ambitious menus) and to just let the flavors and ingredients of the season really speak for themselves. We had the lavender duo from this post for dessert, but I think these panna cottas would have fit the theme of simple just as well, too, if not better.
a Simple Soup, Salad, and Sandwich Fall Menu
Hierloom tomato soup
hierloom tomato, chili pepper flakes, caramelized onion jus, crème fraiche, fresh basil
Spicy and crunchy salad
wild arugula, French radish, red carrots, Dijon honey mustard balsamic vinaigrette
Gruyere and caramelized onion grilled cheese
caramelized onions, cave-aged gruyere, sourdough rye bread
Lavender, honey, and pomegranate panna cotta
lavender and honey panna cotta, pomegranate jelly, fresh pomegranate seeds
This weekend is going to be a rainy one for us, but I'm looking forward to this weather change, finally! Time to snuggle up at home
Have a wonderful weekend, all!
Read on for recipe....
Lavender-Honey Panna Cotta with Pomegranate Jelly
roughly, roughly adapted from base panna cotta recipe from David Lebovitz and Judy Witts
makes ~8 servings
Note: if making panna cottas to turn out of their molds, make the pomegranate jelly first. If making panna cottas to be served without unmolding, make the panna cotta before the jelly.
for panna cotta:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
2 Tbspn dried lavender buds
6 Tbspn cold water
4 1/2 tspn powdered gelatin
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbspn sugar, optional (if you want a sweeter panna cotta)
1/8 tspn ground cardamom, optional
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1. In a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the cream, milk, and dried lavender buds. Bring to a simmer, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for at least ten minutes, then remove the lavender buds, making sure to press all of the liquid out of the buds before discarding them.
2. In a small bowl, sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over the cold water. Let bloom for five minutes.
3. Add the honey, sugar (if using), and cardamom (if using) to the cream and milk mixture and return to medium heat. Add the bloomed gelatin. Stir and cook until the gelatin and honey have completely dissolved, but do not let the mixture boil.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool briefly.
5. If you would like to unmold your panna cotta, lightly grease the inside of your molds with a neutral-flavored oil. Pour the cream into the prepared molds.
6. Refrigerate the panna cotta for two to three hours, until the tops are set before adding the pomegranate jelly layer.
for pomegranate jelly:
2 Tbspn cold water
1/2 tspn powdered gelatin
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
red food coloring, optional
fresh pomegranate seeds
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the cold water. Let bloom for five minutes.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the gelatin and pomegranate juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the gelatin dissolves. Do not let boil.
3. Remove from heat and, if using, stir in a few drops of red food coloring. Let cool briefly. Pour the pomegranate jelly over the panna cottas, and return to the refrigerator for at least four hours.
4. Serve with a generous heaping of fresh pomegranate seeds.
Note: the recipe for the panna cotta is not too sweet, so please use the specified sugar for a sweeter panna cotta.