I like to think of this dessert as peaches and cream, all grown up.
My husband, however, describes it as “milky jello.”
The funny thing is, he’s kind of right. Panna cotta is essentially milky jello.
However, I don’t think that description does this dessert justice. This panna cotta is light and creamy, sweet but not cloying. The addition of honey, lavender and vanilla give the dish a subtle and lovely complexity. In addition, it’s the perfect summertime dessert, as it requires very little cooking.
And it should be said that this dessert is just really, really pretty. Not only does it taste good, but it’s just so lovely to look at.
Therefore, I implore you, friends: go forth and make this milky jello!
Vanilla Bean and Lavender Panna Cotta with Fresh Peaches
(Adapted from Cherry Tea Cakes)
Makes 4 small panna cottas
For the panna cotta:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons honey
1.5 teaspoons culinary lavender
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
For the peach topping:
1-2 peaches, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon raw sugar
Prepare four small dishes (cups, mugs, ramekins, etc) by greasing them with a small amount of canola or vegetable oil. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons of water. Allow the gelatin to ‘blossom’. Let sit for 10 minutes.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and honey over medium-low heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife, and scrape out all of the vanilla seeds. Stir the vanilla into the milk. Add in the scraped vanilla pod and the lavender. Heat for 10 minutes, or until the milk is warmed all the way through and the honey is dissolved and combined with the cream.
Strain out the vanilla pods and lavender, using a mesh strainer or cheese cloth. When the milk mixture is still warm, stir in the gelatin mixture until combined. Pour contents into the containers. Refrigerate for 6 hours (or overnight), until set.
30 minutes prior to serving, slice the peach(es) and toss with sugar, lemon juice, lavender and thyme. Allow the peaches to sit for 30 minutes or more, in order to get the juices flowing.
When ready to serve, remove the panna cottas from the fridge and top with a spoonful of the peach mixture. Enjoy!