< Fresh Approach: Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Lemon-Verbena Syrup

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Lemon-Verbena Syrup

It's highly likely that, should nothing go awry, someday I will be an old woman, and when that happens, I want to know in my heart I have lived life to the fullest. I will hold my head up high and say "Why yes, I did once make Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Lemon-Verbena Syrup, thanks for playing." Because even when I am old, I will still be sassy. (I'd also like to be able to say that and that I once made out with Tom Ford, but since he is not playing strictly on my team, I'll just have to stick with the panna cotta comment. For now.)

This may seem silly (the pannacotta part, I'm perfectly aware the Tom Ford part is) but it's really just symbolic of all of those recipes that I have thought about for ages and never actually followed through with. (Interestingly, in my world, most of those un-made recipes include Lemon Verbena. I wonder why.)

For instance, with this one, I was hesitant. Full of trepidation. It actually intimidated me. But I rose to the challenge (the challenge being that I was sort of convinced it wouldn't taste all that pleasant) and made things happen. I was rewarded with a silky-smooth, creamy-tangy, food-porn-a-licious dessert that will have your taste buds reeling for days. It is the perfect foil for a rich dinner. Sweet and silky, bold and divine. And kids, let me stress that a glass of port or some icy limoncello as a bev along side this will make it soar. Try it, and enjoy!

2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
1 vanilla pod, cut lengthwise
1 cup full cream
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups buttermilk
For the syrup: (Not shown)
1/4 cup white sugar
Zest of one lemon, cut into thick-ish strips
2 tablespoons orange juice
A few leaves of Lemon Verbena, 1/2 of it chiffonade

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the hot water and let melt.

In a medium sauce pan, gently simmer the cream with the vanilla bean and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and stir in the gelatin. Set aside and let cool completely, about an hour. Do not put in the fridge, it will set.

When totally cooled, add in the buttermilk. Stir and strain into six ramekins that are placed on a sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about six hours.

1 hour prior to serving make the syrup, by combining the sugar, water, lemon zest and orange juice in a sauce pan over low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

To remove the panna cottas from their molds, run a thin knife around the edge and invert each over a small dessert plate. Garnish with s few spoonfuls of the syrup and some of the lemon verbena.

Makes six


My, my do I have a soft spot for English boys with guitars. Add in "who cook," and voila my new rock and roll crush, Dennis. Check out his blog, and help encourge his new habit.

Buttermilk has no butter in it and is lower in fat than milk. Authentic buttermilk is the slightly sour, residual liquid which remains after butter is churned, ie. milk from the butter.

Lemon Verbena, a South American herb, was brought to Europe in the late 17th century. According to "The Meaning of Herbs" it symbolizes delicate feelings. Mint stands for for wisdom.

I love your blog so so so so so much. Thanks for all the nifty tidbits. I really do wish there was more of a demand for food anthropology:))
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