Prudence's Lavender Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries
Serves 6 (½ cup ramekins)
My summer signature dessert dish is a lavender buttermilk panna cotta with fresh local strawberries marinated with local Eau de Vie, Westford Hill Distillers. It's a cool luscious homemade dessert that has saved me more than once from being called "the chef who served store-bought ice cream for dessert." And it takes less than five minutes of heat to make. That will keep any chef's temper cool! My recipe is gussied up with lavender and lightened with buttermilk and topped with lightly marinated strawberries.
2 1/2 cups light cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers* (if old, can use up to 2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup buttermilk
In a medium saucepan add the cream, sugar and vanilla. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cream and let sit for one minute for the gelatin to soften. Heat the mixture until steaming to dissolve the gelatin and sugar. Stir well and add the lavender flowers. Let cool to tepid. Strain. Add the buttermilk and stir to combine. Pour into lightly oiled ramekins, a large mold or martini glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 2 hours for 1/2 cup ramekins. (Can be made a day ahead and held in the refrigerator.) To unmold: With a knife loosen the panna cotta around the edges. Turn over onto a plate.
Fresh Strawberry Compote
4 cups (1 LB) sliced fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons Kirsch or a berry syrup
Sugar to taste if needed
Toss and let sit for 5-15 minutes. Pour over the panna cotta.
*Use food grade dried lavender leaves. They can be found at Penzy's spice market, ordered on line or grow them yourself.