Roasted Apricot and Lavender Panna Cottas

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lavender and Apricot Panna Cotta

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday, my lovely sweet mom . Instead of baking her a cake I made her Roasted Apricot and Lavender Panna Cotta. It's not that I don't like cake, we all know better than that (!) it's just that every time I think about my mom I think of apricots and lavender. From as far as I can remember my mom seemed to smell of apricot and lavender. Maybe it is because we only had to walk to the front yard and get the fruits right off the tree back when we were still in Provence. Maybe it is because you can't open one single drawer at our house without finding a little lavender sachet to perfume our clothes. I always thought it was strange that I was the only lavender smelling child at school but guess what...I keep the tradition going even now (but that should not be a surprise either).

By the way what is your favorite birthday sweet?

I thought about this all day long the other day as I was preparing the panna cottas and I was not surprised to hear my dad say when I called earlier today that my mom could not come to the phone right then because she was stirring her jam. Apricot jam. Ha! I knew it! I wanted to be there in the kitchen with her, stirring the fruits in her giant copper pot, skimming the foam, watching the bubbles, letting the fruits get caramelized, watching her crack some apricot pits to collect some of the kernels inside (because they taste just like almonds) that she adds to the jam for flavor and that we all fight over.

Now you understand why when it came down to celebrate her birthday, I immediately thought of apricots and lavender. Yes, I am very much a mama's girl, my dad being a more private and guarded individual. My mother is not my friend or my best friend, she is my mom. My mom did not raise me for herself, she raised me with the same contradictions that she possesses: a spirit for personal interactions as well as a need for private time, patience and tolerance stirred with a dose of hot temper, a thirst for knowledge and personal improvement mixed with an interesting set of Old World values. I think my mother is the best....of course I do...and to think that she smells as good as roasted apricots and lavender....well that just tops it all!

Happy Birthday Mom! Joyeux Anniversaire Maman Cherie que j'aime tres fort de la vie entiere! I know I am early but I won't have blog access on Tuesday.

Apricots and Lavender-Copyright©Tartelette 2008
The panna cottas themselves come together very easily, the cream is infused with edible lavender buds, strained and poured over roasted apricots. The fruits are sprinkled with a little sugar and roasted on medium heat, then pureed and spooned at the bottom of glasses or jars. When you dig into the panna cottas it feels and smells like your spoon is walking along fields of lavender and when you finally reach the bottom, the apricot puree adds a little tartness and texture contrast. I realized that this is another apricot dessert this month and I am not sure it won't be the last since my old chef gave me a case of these the other week after I helped him out with a pastry dilemma: too many sweets to make, not enough hands, he called, I baked.

I must add that this dessert was also a team effort of some sort. In the past couple of weeks I had the tremendous joy of meeting two great ladies that I only had communicated through email and phone until now. You might remember the Cassata Cake made with Chris from Mele Cotte when she came to visit. We had never met and still, from the minute we both opened our mouths it was like we already had...and boy can we both talk! She spoiled me with tons of little things for cooking and baking, among which a big tub of lavender buds that I immediately put to use with the panna cottas.

The other lady is Bina. This past Thursday we (yes, Bailey too) drove to Atlanta for business and we stopped for lunch at Bina's house for lunch before heading back. Bina is a reader who does not have a blog but loves to bake and is an accomplished cook, not to mention an incredibly thoughtful host. She has been very generous both in her words and gifts which made me want to meet her in person to tell her a proper thank you. We had such a great time and she made us the most delicious Indian foods, breads, chutneys and samosas. I even got a quick lesson on samosa making, yippee!! Before I left she gave me a little packet of silver leaves used in Indian sweets and I thought they were perfect to adorn the panna cottas for mom's birthday. A little edible bling never hurt anyone!!

Lavender and Apricot Panna Cotta
Roasted Apricot and Lavender Panna Cottas:

Serves 4

For the roasted apricots:
6 apricots
1/4 cup of sugar

Preheat your oven to 350F. Cut the apricots in half, remove the pits and place them flesh side up in a large baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the apricot halves with the sugar and roast them for about 30-40 minutes (check at 30 to prevent them from burning) until they have released their juices and become soft and caramelized. Let cool to room temperature before pureeing the fruits in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Divide evenly among 4 glasses or ramequins.

For the panna cottas:
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs edible lavender buds
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin bloomed in 2 Tb water (means to pour the water over the gelatin and let it sit while you prepare the panna cotta)

Combine all the ingredients, except the gelatin, in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let the cream to steep for 20 minutes. Pass the mixture through a sieve or a chinois, heat the gelatin in the microwave for 8 seconds and quickly stir it in the cream mixture. No microwave at our house so I set the cup with the gelatin in large saucepan with enough water to come up halfway up the sides of the gelatin bowl, on medium heat and let the gelatin melt that way. Let cool to lukewarm.
Slowly pour the cream over the apricot puree and let set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Decorate with apricot slices, chopped nuts, etc....

80 comments:

Lisa said...

That is so lovely - the words, thoughts, photograph... oh and the recipe too :) Happy Birthday to your mother!

Christy said...

Happy birthday to your mother!! I wish my house smells of lavender and apricots too; but then again, I also wish I had grown up in Provence. Beautiful pannacottas, great job!! I'm sure you mother would be thrilled!!

PS. So when will you be coming down to Australia for business?

Mercotte said...

tout e que j'aime !! C'est trop beau présenté dans ces petits pots de yaourts, je l'avais faite en l'associant à la pistache c'est bon aussi !!!

Papilles et Pupilles said...

What a wonderful recipe ! It's so yummy. I love the mix apricots + lavender ! I' ve made last year a Tarte Tatin with the same ingredients. so good :)

Rachel@fairycakeheaven said...

ooo gorgeous must try using my lavender that has been sitting in the cupboard since February!

Hope your mam has a wonderful anniversaire.

Manggy said...

Joyeaux anniversaire to your mom (er... Tarte? Hee hee hee.)! I dunno if I can really associate my mom with a particular food smell. She cooks very few things, I'm not sure she'd appreciate smelling like meatloaf! Maybe bread pudding, heh heh :)
My favorite birthday treat? Cake, of course!

Passionate About Baking said...

Happy Birthday Mom...these are like a walk in the field. I was gulping spoonfuls as I walked through your post...sublimity at it's very best. I love the bling factor. PRETTY! Never thought they could be put to such good use...you've given me ideas for some that I have. I think panna cotta & fruit are quite the best combinations...add pistachio & its nirvana!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Marvelous and so pretty! Those Panna Cottas look delicious and ever so refreshing!

Cheers,

Rosa

Ellie @ Kitchen Wench said...

Darling, those look sensational! What a wonderful pairing of flavours - I can't wait till summer comes back so I can try roasting peaches :)

Vanille said...

I really like the flavors of this recipe !
Les mots encore plus que la recette sont un superbe cadeau d'anniversaire fait à ta mère !

Aran said...

happy birthday to your mom! you are making her proud with this dessert and all your other ones. My favorite birthday sweet... arroz con leche! Always!

Camille said...

Birthday wishes to your mother! Your post is wonderful from the words about your mother to the dessert.

I'm sorry I can't answer the favorite birthday treat question. I love so many things and as long as I'm sharing it with my big guy and my little guys I'm a happy woman.

veron said...

Happy birthday to your Mom! And I just love panna cotta's!

morgana said...

I cna't imagine how this could smell like... It must be delicious anyway.

bluemagpie said...

I Googled brownies and found your blog. . . and I'm glad I did! Happy Birthday to your mother! :) I love, love, love your charming desserts!

Addi

chefectomy said...

Helen,

Happy Birthday to your mom, what a lovely tribute. I am a major panna cotta lover and the reason is that it is such an excellent platform in which to display ingredients. I would have never imagined Lavender and Apricot but I am sure it is delicious. Your photos are beautiful.

Marc

Bridget said...

I love that your mom always smelled of apricots and lavender! That is really neat! Your pictures are beautiful!

My favorite birthday sweet? I don't know, really...I love them all. Maybe something "wedding cake-ish". White with white icing, although I am a chocolate girl most other times!

Alexa said...

Great combination of flavor Tartelette! Quelle belle facon de dire joyeux anniversaire a ta maman. My mom brings back those lavender sachets every time she visits us and we must multiple in every door by now. It reminds me of my childhood in Nice and surroundings... Beautiful post comme d'habitude. Meilleurs Voeux pour ta maman.

RecipeGirl said...

What a lovely tribute to your Mom! I think of apricots when I think of my Mom too. I can remember her making loads of apricot jam :)

amy said...

gosh - lavender and apricots - yum!

Mary said...

Wow, the panna cottas are beautiful and I'm sure they're tasty! My grandpa used to have an apricot tree that we would eat the fruit straight from.
My favorite birthday sweet is carrot cake. Yummy!

ayankeeinasouthernkitchen said...

Happy Birthday to you mom! This looks like a light refreshing summer dessert. I still have never eaten a panna cotta! My favorite birthday dessert(which is coming soon btw) is coconut cake!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Happy birthday to your sweet smelling mom! What a beautiful way to celebrate it in the distance!

That Girl said...

I'd prefer panna cotta to cake any day!

kellypea said...

Happy Birthday, maman Tartelette!

Lovely post, Helen •sigh* I'm loving the combination of those flavors. I've never made panna cotta before if you can believe that. One of these days...

Those little glass jars look like the ones I save when I get fancy yogurt...yes?

VeggieGirl said...

Wishing your dear mom an early happy birthday!!

My favorite birthday sweet?? This Raw Apricot Cake:

http://veggiegirlvegan.blogspot.com/2008/01/heavenly-treats-for-special-occasions.html

Kate / Kajal said...

hEY HELEN, wish your mum a very Happy Birthday. That looks so fantastic. Surprisingly i have both the ingredients but never thought of putting them together. A very elegant dessert.

Bonbon Oiseau said...

bon anniversaire to your mere!! (heehee)...these look beautiful--i love the flavor combination and ooo panna cotta--i actually can't eat wheat so i love these kind of light desserts!

Kimi said...

What can I say, another terrific recipe!
I left an award for you on my blog!

Oh, and thank you so much, I got the book and LOVE IT! Can't wait to cook from it, soon!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Happy Birthday to Mother Tartelette! I wish her all the best, Helen. And what a beautiful dessert. Even though I love cakes for birthdays, this panna cotta would make me so glad!

Elizabeth said...

What a lovely and thoughtful birthday present!

Maria said...

Looks like the perfect summer dessert!

Mansi Desai said...

that is such a pretty and refreshing summer dessert! I love panna cottas, and this combination is indeed inviting Helen!:)

hope your mom loved it!!

Mallory Elise said...

your mom picked a winner. it's strange i don't think i ever had apricot jam before i lived in France, but once i had it it was the only one i would eat! the little bonne maman. i WISH i had too many sweets to back, but i cant afford anything. being poor and in college sucks sometimes i must say.

bisous, bon anniversaire a ta maman!

Mallory Elise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annemarie said...

I can imagine the lovely smell your mother must have given off. :) I wouldn't have thought of these two flavors/scents together, but then I'm not French. They look lovely - hope you mothers enjoyed her virtual birthday treat.

Peabody said...

Happy birthday to your mom! What a special treat for her...simply gorgeous.

Lina said...

what gorgeous photos as always! That looks like a wonderfully refreshing summer treat!

Lina said...

what gorgeous photos as always! That looks like a wonderfully refreshing summer treat!

glamah16 said...

I love your writing style and posts. Beautuiful dessert for you Mother.

Kevin said...

Those look good! I like the little pots.

Heather said...

how beautiful! your mother must be in heaven! and, as usual, the photos are utterly stunning!

eliza said...

happy birthday to your mom! we share the same birthday sign :) love the panna cotta, one of my favorite desserts.

cindy* said...

happy birthday helen's mother! i was thinking about roasting peaches right before i read this post...beautiful panna cottas!

Snooky doodle said...

happy birthday to your mum. I enjoyed reading this post and funnily enough i don t like pannacotta and apricots and you still made me crave it. Really nice photos :-) wish i had a friend in baking i would enjoy learning from a person crazy as I am about baking ha. Pity i live so far away. Thanks for visiting my blog.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

What beautiful and elegant little treats! They look heavenly. I love roasted stone fruits in desserts. It really brings out the fruit's flavor.

BTW, where did you get those adorable little jars?

Manger La Ville said...

I just made a panna cotta, posted on my website, but your's sounds so much better. This was my first panna cotta I ever made. I think I will try this one next. I love the combination.

Botacook said...

Superbe et très alléchant!
Un bon anniversaire à ta maman :)

Anonymous said...

Merci à toi ma grande fille chérie, pour ce bon dessert ; après la dégustation de ce présent, il me restera à jamais dans mon coeur le merveilleux hommage que tu viens de me faire. Je t'aime et continue comme-ça.

Tartelette said...

Kelly and Susan: the jars are recycled French yogurt jars that I received from a French blogger when she sent me some spicy chocolate pearls last month.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Beautiful! Happy birthday to your mom. Your post reminded me of my mom making apricot jam and wonderful apricot pies. I miss that a lot. Oh, and we were always told the almond inside the pit was poisonous. Weird.

Brilynn said...

I used to always have a blackforest cake for my birthday but for the past couple years now I've taken to making my own cake or birthday treat so it varies. But I have a special weakness for ice cream, even though I eat it everyday...

NOT SO VANILLA said...

This post is really great!I love the combination of flavours and scents. I held a lavender filled eye bag (the ones for Yoga) the other day and it just makes you relax just the smell.
Oh and my fav birthday cake hands down is the one my 7 year old son makes me, from a duncan hines box, because it's everything to him for that one moment of watching me (mum) love it and he is so proud of himself

noble pig said...

This was such a beautiful post and I'm sure your Mom treasured every word!

My favorite sweet for my B-day is Red Velvet Cake, it always has been!

Tartelette said...

Oh I can see that mom stopped by to look at her dessert!

Lynn: I know they are in large quantitites but we only had like 2 per jars...although there is an ongoing debate about those, like tonka beans or cherry pits.

Karina said...

Such a lovely tribute. And evocative. I can almost smell the lavender and apricots. Beautiful! (And believe it or not I don't have a favorite birthday anything; I don't like the fuss and attention! Silly me.)

Mobula said...

Happy Birthday to your mom!!!!

Lavender, apricots and pannacotta.... I want one of your pots!!!!!

Ana

diva said...

wow. beautiful! i'm sure your mum loved the panna cotta. they're amazing and so creative! :)

miri said...

Dear Helen, you are a constant inspiration to me, I love everything you make and the way it's presented and photographed! Happy birthday to your mom, I'm sure she had a happy one with these beautiful panna cottas you made her! My favorite birthday sweet - pecan pie.

Bria said...

What a great idea for panacotta! I love serving mine with fruits too, but never thought to combine them together in the same cup.

Bria said...

What a great idea for panacotta! I love serving mine with fruits too, but never thought to combine them together in the same cup.

Monkee said...

What a beautiful and creative creation! Good work!

linda said...

Hope your mum had a wonderful birthday!
Interesting combination of the lavender and apricots...I'm curious how that tastes...

nicisme said...

Happy birthday to your mum!
The colour in this is superb!

LyB said...

That is so nice, what a beautiful dessert for your Mom. Happy Birthday to her, and many more! :)

cakewardrobe said...

Beautiful birthday story! I'm sure your mom would prefer a lovely panna cotta rather than a cake, as would mine!

ana dane said...

many happy returns to your mom.

i want to make this, but i don't think i'd get past just eating those apricots straight off the spoon!

matt wright said...

These look awesome - and talk about great presentation. Where did you get those great glass jar things?

Glad to hear of someone else that doesn't have a microwave! They just take up space, and produce bad food (in my opinion).

Anonymous said...

Those are so beautiful! I buy Spega Imported Italian yogurt at Trader Joe's and they come in glass jars just like that. Now I have another use for them besides candles!

Vera said...

Helen, very Happy Birthday to your mother and best wishes! She certainly smells wonderfully:).
The panna cottas are mouthwatering; and the photos are so beautiful!

Botany's Desire said...

Ok what is it with all these fabulous dessert blogs. This is driving me nuts. There isn't any place for hundreds of miles from me to get any yummy desserts.

Do you mail order?????I am willing to pay lots and lots of money. LOL

Zoe Francois said...

This is just beautiful. It is the essence of summer.

Anita said...

So pretty - your mother is very lucky!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Love every part of this one!

Laura P. said...

This will come in handy since I just won some lavender buds...looks great! : )

Susan from Food Blogga said...

As usual, Helen, these photos are captivating. As for my favorite b-day treat, that would have to be pizza!

Heather said...

These are beautiful! It's always so exciting for me to find recipes with lavender and other edible flowers in them. I'm making these right now, except with plum instead of apricots because that's what we have on hand.

Angela said...

Beautiful sentiments and a beautiful dessert! I hope your mom had a wonderful birthday!

pennie said...

This sounds delicious, looks so pretty and I bet it smells incredible, thank you!

chacha said...

I made these last night for a date. I had to substitute fresh apricots for some in a glass jar, they were still very good. Next time (and I will DEFINATELY be making this again) I will probably just use whole or perhaps 2% milk, because it was very very rich. The flavor was lovely though!

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