Monday, August 30, 2010

Jello Night!

A few weeks ago, my knitting group (which meets at the fantastic Fiber Gallery on Tuesday evenings) had a Jello themed potluck. We were inspired by this sort of vintage recipe: Instead of doing something disturbingly glistening, though, I decided to go in another direction. In the comments for this recipe, someone complained that the panna cotta tasted like "milky jello" and another commenter pointed out that panna cotta is milky jello.

Confident that this met our theme, I played around with several recipes and came up with a Lemon-Lavender Panna Cotta. (I'm on something of a lemon-lavender binge at present.) It would be delicious with blueberry sauce, but I guessed (correctly, as it turned out) that there would be lots of other sweet creations to pair it with. (If you happen to have some, it went pretty well with Blueberry Jello Surprise.)

Lemon-Lavender Panna Cotta

  • 4 C whole milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbsp dried culinary lavender buds
  • 2 Tbsp grated organic lemon zest
  • 3/4 C sugar
Sprinkle gelatin over 1 C of the milk in a small saucepan. Put the lavender in a cheesecloth pouch or tea ball. Let the milk & gelatin stand for 10 minutes.

Add the lavender and lemon zest and gently heat over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, whisking until gelatin dissolves. Keep stirring and increase heat to medium. Add the sugar and whisk some more, until the sugar dissolves.

Take off the heat and remove the lavender pouch, squeezing a bit to get more liquid out. Add the remaining 3 C milk and give the mixture one last good stir.

For an elegant presentation, pour into 8 6-oz ramekins and allow to chill at least 4 hours. When the mixture is completely set and chilled, invert each panna cotta onto a dessert plate. Pour berry sauce over the panna cotta, if desired. (For a potluck, it's much easier to just pour the hot mixture into a pretty serving bowl and scoop it out of there to serve after chilling.)
serves 6-8

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