Lemon Basil Panna Cotta

• 27 August 2012

Let's start the week out right by talking about dessert, shall we?  I am a big fan of made-from-scratch desserts that aren't laborious, but produce delicious results.  I imagine many of you are right there with me...

Panna cotta, meaning "cooked cream" in Italian, is one of my all-time favorite desserts.  It may sound fancy-schmancy, but panna cotta is actually a simple Italian dessert that is surprisingly easy to make with cream, vanilla and other delightful ingredients.  If I'm ever eating out at a restaurant that serves panna cotta, I almost always order it; and considering the fact that panna cotta is almost always up against chocolate, I think that says something!  It's ideal with fresh berries, a compote or a coulis.

As an added bonus, panna cotta can be made ahead of time.  In fact, it'll be better if you make it the night before your party/dinner/event/etc.

Recipe for Lemon Basil Panna Cotta pops up after the jump.  Simply click "read more".  Enjoy!

Lemon Basil Panna Cotta

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 vanilla bean
8 lemon basil leaves

zest of 2 large lemons
juice of 2 large lemons
1 package unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
1 7.5 container crème fraîche

Lightly coat 8 3/4 cup ramekins with a mist of vegetable oil.  Mix milk and cream in a heavy, medium saucepan with a whisk.  Split the vanilla bean down the center and use a spoon to scrape the seeds out thoroughly (I like to use a grapefruit spoon).  Place the seeds in the milk/cream mixture, as well as the bean itself.  Next, add the lemon basil leaves.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium/medium-high heat.  Remove from the heat.  Cover and allow to steep for 40 minutes.  Remove bean and lemon basil leaves.

Pour the fresh-squeezed lemon juice into a bowl.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the lemon juice and allow it to stand for about 10 minutes.  Stir the sugar and gelatin mixture into the lemon basil infused milk/cream mixture.  Stir over low heat until both sugar and gelatin dissolve (about 2-3 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Whisk in the crème fraîche and lemon zest.

Place 8 ramekins in a casserole dish.  Divide custard mixture amongst ramekins (I find a very small ladle works nicely here).  Cover with a large piece of plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight.

Before serving, take all the ramekins out of the casserole dish (but keep them close by).  Fill the bottom 1/2 inch of the casserole dish with hot tap water.  Run a small knife around each panna cotta.  One at a time, place each ramekin in the hot water for about 1 minute.  Then, invert the panna cotta immediately onto a serving plate.  Serve with fresh berries (like the currants shown above), my roasted gooseberry compote or a berry coulis.  Enjoy!

images by me


Alison B said...

I am so excited to try this recipe! I never thought of making it myself although I sometimes dream of panna cotta and have noticed it is a rare find on menus, but I'm with you - a great panna cotta can hit the spot perfectly.

Alison B said...

By the way, for easy desserts, we just tried your petit lu version of s'mores tonight (roasting marshmallows over the grill!) and it was manifique! Merci!

rachel @ blackeiffel said...

Gorgeous Steph!!!

reflective essay said...

Well I love searching for Italian desserts and my this endeavor has made me find this great blog of Italian dessert...thanks for the awesome recipe..

reflective essay

Stephanie said...

Alison B, yes!!! Love hearing that. They are my favorite s'more for sure.

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