Mother’s Day, Lemon Basil Panna Cotta

Happy mother’s day!  I have to get a little cheesy for a second and just say that I’m so thankful to have been able to spend the day with my mom, my honorary mom (childhood best friend’s mother), and my grandma.  They are three of the greatest women I know.

So, what better way to say I love you than with a fresh, light dessert.  I wanted to do something fairly simple, and for some reason, lemon just seemed right.  I love the flavor of lemon, especially after a big Italian lunch.  Heavy lunches are too often followed with heavy desserts, which I think, honestly, is just not fair to the dessert.  Everyone just looks at it, kind of groans, and then begrudgingly eats a few bites, and that just doesn’t seem right to me.  Lately I’ve been very into mini desserts, and this panna cotta is perfect served mini-style.  It is also one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made, didn’t involve the oven, and came out flawlessly.  Seriously, next time you’ve gone way overboard with an elaborate meal, make this for dessert. You will thank me, but more importantly, your guests will thank you.

Note:  I made some with basil and some without, and I loved it both ways.  The basil was very subtle and I would definitely recommend it, but if you just don’t think it’s your thing, just leave it out.  It’s by no means necessary.

Lemon Basil Panna Cotta
makes 8 very small (espresso cup-sized) servings

1 tablespoon (15gr) water
1 3/4 teaspoons (4gr) powdered gelatin
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup (50gr) sugar
1 cup (250ml) whole milk

zest of two lemon
four basil leaves, torn into large pieces (optional)

Place the water in a small ramekin and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it bloom while you prepare the cream.

In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream with the sugar lemon rind, and basil until the cream is just about to boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it is completely melted.

Let cool for about 10 minutes and add the milk. Using a fine sieve, strain the mixture into a measuring cup with a pour spout (or, if you want the lemon rind to be in the finished dessert, just pick out the basil leaves).

Pour the panna cotta into serving cups (I used cappuccinio cups, which worked perfectly) and chill, covered, for at least three hours, or up to overnight.


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