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Week 4: The Cookbook Challenge - Lavender Panna Cotta with Lavender Shards


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Week 4
Theme: Beans
Cookbook Used: Delicious - Quick Smart Cook
Author: Valli Little

The theme this week was beans. I thought I'd think outside the box, and go with the variety of beans that does not make one fart. So I made a trip to the gourmet food shop to pick me up some vanilla beans.

I had never made a panna cotta before this challenge. In fact, I'm not even sure if I had even tasted a panna cotta before making this one.
It was meant to be a lavender panna cotta with lavender shards, but I couldn't find dried edible lavender flowers in time. In the end I left them out, and tried to substitute with a bag of earl grey tea. I also left out the toffee lavender shards, as I had already consumed my body weight in lollies from decorating my first gingerbread house (blog post to come on that soon!!)

It was also my first experience using gelatine leaves, and I was so surprised how easy they are to use. So much easier than that powdery stuff!

The layer of chocolate sauce was also far more than required, but I didn't want to throw out good chocolate sauce.
The panna cotta had a lovely lemony flavour, that almost reminded me a little of cheesecake.
A fantastic recipe, I'd love to try again with lavender flowers.

Lavender Panna Cotta with Lavender Shards

400ml pure (thin) cream
200ml thickened cream
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
Pared rind of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers, plus extra to garnish
3 gold-strength gelatine leaves

Lavender Shards
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon dried edible lavender flowers

Chocolate Sauce
200ml pure (thin) cream
50ml milk
200g dark chocolate, chopped
20g good-quality cocoa powder

1. Place the cream, sugar, lemon rind, vanilla pod and seeds and lavender in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to just below boiling point, then remove from head and set aside for 30 minutes to infuse.

2. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, reheat the cream mixture over low heat. Squeeze excess liquid from gelatine, then ad leaves to cream, stirring to dissolve. Strain mixture through a sieve, pressing down on lavender flowers to extract as much flavour as possible. Divide among four to six 150ml serving glasses, then chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

3. Meanwhile, for lavender shards, lightly grease a baking sheet. Stir sugar and 1/2 cup (125ml) water in a saucepan over low heat to dissolve. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil, then allow to bubble, not stirring but occasionally brushing sides down with a wet pastry brush, for 5-6 minutes until golden. Pour onto tray, scatter with lavender and set aside at room temperature for 10 minutes or until set. Crack into shards, then store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

4. Make chocolate Sauce: place cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below boiling point, then remove from the heat. Whisk in chocolate until melted, then gently whisk in cocoa until smooth. Strain into a jug and set aside to cool.

5. Top each panna cotta with a little chocolate sauce, then add lavender shards and garnish with extra lavender flowers.

Serves 4-6.

Voila! Bon App├ętit!


Ahh, vanilla beans! Very creative for this week's theme. It looks delicious, it would be interesting to see what it would be like with the lavender.

Clever take on the theme indeed! I do love panna cotta - lavender would definitely be an interesting flavour. Yum!

by far the best bean around!

Ooh what a great idea - I have never even used vanilla beans before! I always use the paste. Looks so delicious!

Oh you big trickster, using vanilla beans! Now you have nothing to blame your farts on though, you realise? ;)

My contribution to this week's theme was to do some reclining in a bean bag.

I would have never thought of vanilla bean. What a great idea. Loving such a simple and yet delicious dessert :)

Yes, agreed. You can't let good chocolate go to waste- pack it in! Nice job!

ah too bad you couldn't find lavendar but it looks wonderful.

haha definitely dont let chocolate go to waste!

So that is what the lavender was supposed to be for. I racked my brain trying to work out how you were going to use them with beans. Great variation on the theme!

Hi Agnes - Thanks! Shall experiment next time with the lavender, should I ever find some!

Hi Esz - Thank you! Next time it will be lavender!

Hi A Girl Called E - Indeedy!

Hi Iamsugarjunkie - I had never used them before either! Thanks =D

Hi Conor - hehe, yes I am a trickster :P Damn.. so true!
I am a fan of your contribution =D

Hi Ellie - Ahhhh!! Thank you!

Hi Adrian - haha, thanks =D

Hi Kat - Yeah I know =( Thanks!

Hi Chocolate Suze - Amen!

Hi Jo - ah ha! Yes, I'm glad I had you guessing though :P Thanks!

I was thinking of doing something with vanilla bean too, but went with something savoury. I love your creativity!

Amazing. Vanilla bean didn't even enter my head - well done for thinking out of the square, and they look delicious! Love to hear how you go making it with the lavender. Leigh

Goes to show how tired I really am, never even thought of a vanilla bean, love it, I also have never made panacotta before & am just waiting for the right moment to give it a go

Love this dish. When you try again with Lavender, you definitely have to blog it.

Very well done!!! What a perfect gingerbread house. I love the deco on the door :)

Hi Rilsta - ahhh great minds ;) Thanks!

Hi Chitchatchomp - Thank you! I shall blog when I find the lavender!

Hi Ange - ahhh! that's the kinda reaction I was going for :P Definitely give it a go!

Hi Cherrie Pie - I shall do! Just gotta find the lavender first!

Hi Ellie - Thanks darling ;)

Well done for thinking outside of the box and getting away from your standard garden variety beans. I myself, couldn't bear to cook anything other than homemade baked beans. :)
I would be interesting to see the vanilla shards... I have so much lavender at home, I don't know what to do with it all.

Hi Adski - Thank you! mmmmm... baked beans was my 2nd option. Try this with your lavender!

I totally agree, gelatine leaves are so easy to work with! Thanks for making this recipe, I had post it noted it in the book as something to try and make :D

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