My colleague and friend Chef Mary Cleaver is at the forefront of the movement toward improving our food supply as a nation. She has taught me to strive to include as many organic, local, and seasonal ingredients as possible in my own cooking, and so I wanted to share one of her sweet recipes with you for a lovely summer dessert.
5 cups heavy cream
1-1/3 cups milk
2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
1-1/2 cups sugar
Two 1/2-ounce packets powdered gelatin
Honey, for garnish
Combine the cream, 1 cup of the milk, and the lavender in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Strain out the lavender.
While the cream mixture is cooling slightly, pour the remaining 1/3 cup cold milk into a small bowl and sprinkle the powdered gelatin over it. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir the dissolved gelatin into the very warm cream mixture. (If it has become too cool to dissolve the gelatin, set it back on a low flame, stirring continuously, until the gelatin is completely incorporated into the cream.)
Pour the mixture into individual serving vessels or a single dish. Let sit for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator, undisturbed, on a flat surface. Drizzle the panna cotta lightly with a few drops of honey before serving.
Yield: Serves 8
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