Panna cotta is pure silk… Okay, literally speaking it’s “cooked cream” — but that translation doesn’t do this light, elegant dessert any favors. Ours is made with a bit of yogurt (for tang) and lavender (for a happy floral note).
Now, if the chilled, lavender-infused cream doesn’t scream “fall” to you, the traditional coulis topping will: The plums are roasted with butter, brown sugar, and fresh thyme (which lends the syrupy-sweet fruit a bit of earthy pungency), and then puréed into a rich sauce. Throw it all together in your chosen vessels, serve with a few slices of plum and crumbled cookies for crunch, and you’ve got yourself the perfect dessert — not too rich, not too sweet, just a delicate little something for the end of the day.
Lavender Panna Cotta & Roasted Plum Coulis
- 1 ¼ oz envelope unflavored gelatin
- 3 Tbsp cold milk
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tsp dried, food grade lavender
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 ripe plums, halved, stones removed
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 1 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 shortbread cookie, crumbled, for garnish
- 6 6-oz ramekins or wine glasses
For the panna cotta:
For the roasted plum coulis:
- To make the panna cotta: In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the cold milk, and let it bloom, or soften, for 10 minutes. Set it aside.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, and lavender to a simmer.
- Remove the cream mixture from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Pass it through a mesh strainer to remove the lavender.
- Whisk the gelatin mixture into the warm cream until smooth and completely dissolved.
- In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt until it’s smooth, and then whisk it into the cream and gelatin mixture.
- Brush the ramekins with the vegetable oil and fill each one with ½ cup of the panna cotta. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap. Transfer them to the fridge until the panna cotta is set, 2 to 4 hours.
- To make the roasted plum coulis: Preheat the oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the plums on the baking sheet, cut side up, and fill each half with 1 teaspoon of butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Top each plum with a sprig of thyme.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and let the plums cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Slice two of the plum halves into 3 wedges each and set them aside.
- Transfer the remaining plums into a blender with the water, lemon juice, and sugar and purée until smooth.
- Dip the ramekins, 1 at a time, into a bowl of hot water for 3 seconds, and then gently invert the ramekin over a small dessert plate. Note: if you’re using wine glasses instead of ramekins, there’s no need to turn out the panna cotta.
- Top each panna cotta with plum coulis, sliced plums, and a sprinkle of the crumbled shortbread cookie and serve immediately.