Panna cotta is one of my all-time favorite desserts, ever. Add in a little fresh lemon and basil, and I’m in heaven. Or, at least forgetting that I’m 8-months pregnant for a few minutes, which is practically equivalent.
Top it off with a little fresh basil and candied lemon curl, and you’ll have a fancy little dessert that is almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Lemon Basil Panna Cotta
Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings):
- 1 pint whipping cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons (about one packet) of unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 12-15 large basil leaves
- 1 lemon, finely zested
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Pour 1/4 cup milk into a small saucepan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin. Allow gelatin to sit to absorb, at least 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to mash basil leaves into a paste. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, mince the basil and finely as possible.
- Add 1 cup of cream and 1/4 cup of sugar to the milk and gelatin, and stir to combine. Heat over medium-low heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved, about 7-8 minutes, stirring constantly. Try to not let the mixture come to a boil, if it does – remove from heat immediately.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and the basil paste (or mined basil). Use a fork to remove any large chunks of basil from the mixture, if any. (You could strain it if you wanted it smooth – but I like the texture the leaves add). Then, zest 1/2 lemon into the mixture, and stir to combine.
- Pour the basil layer equally among 4-6 ramekins or glasses, and let chill for at least 3 hours in the fridge. (Do not cover with plastic wrap until after at least an hour, to prevent condensation from building up inside the glass.)
I stuck a ball of playdough into my large muffin tins to hold my glasses at an angle in order to create the first slanted layer.
After the first layer has chilled and is slightly firm, make the second layer exactly as before, omitting the basil. Pour over the first layer and return to fridge for at least 8 hours. (I poured my second layer with the glasses upright, then stuck directly in the fridge.) Serve cold.