Recipe Box: Lavender Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Compote

Panna cotta in a party cup.

It's been a little while since I've shared a recipe. This one was a real Kurt-pleaser, but I suspect you'd like it too. It's the only remedy for these sweltering summer days when the hot air clings to you like a wet blanket. You may not know it just yet, but the best thing for a sweaty day is a light, creamy, refreshing lavender panna cotta with tangy-sweet poached rhubarb. Trust me on this one.

Panna Cotta is an Northern Italian dessert made by simmering milk, cream, sugar and gelatin. It's usually served with berries, chocolate or caramel, so if you're fresh out of rhubarb, feel free to improvise.

I found this recipe on Tartlette. I think she's a genius. At my house, there seems to be a tragic shortage of dainty and whimsical ceramic ramekins, so I had to improvise. The best I could come up with (don't laugh) were those iconic red, plastic party cups. Don't worry, I cut them short and they instantly transformed into red, plastic party ramekins. Trés chic.

Tartlette's Lavender Panna Cotta with Poached Rhubarb

Panna cotta:
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin (2 sheets gelatin)
1/4 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon lavender buds
2 cups full fat buttermilk

Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup water or sweet white wine or blush wine
2 tablespoons honey
5 stalks rhubarb, chopped into small pieces (1/2 inch)

How-to ...

Prepare the rhubarb:
Place the lemon juice, water (or wine) and honey in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and add diced rhubarb. Poach for 2-3 minutes then gently remove the rhubarb from the poaching liquid and set aside (they will continue to soften as they cool). Reduce the poaching liquid to a syrup over medium heat. You can use this to and use to drizzle over the panna cotta.

Prepare the panna cotta ...
Place the water in small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatin. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream, honey and lavender buds to a simmer. When the mixture is hot, remove pan from the heat and whisk in the gelatin until it is dissolved. Add the buttermilk and whisk until well blended. Divide the mixture among 4-6 cups or ramekins. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving to let the cream set properly. Top with the poached rhubarb just before serving.

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