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Lavender Panna Cotta With Poached Rhubarb

Lavender Panna Cotta With Poached Rhubarb

There are very few things that say Spring to me like a few stalks of rhubarb do. I am not alone sharing that sentiment just from seeing all the rhubarb recipes posted by fellow bloggers out there. That makes me happy. I do have a little love affair with "la rhubarbe" each year.

This complex, fibrous and tart plant is probably one I remember the most vividly about my childhood. I literally grew up on that stuff every Spring and Summer. I can’t recall a sunny day without my mother compote de rhubarbe or a vacation without my grandmother tarte a la rhubarbe.

Lavender Panna Cotta With Poached Rhubarb

I got an early start on my rhubarb baking (crumbles) when I got giddy finding hothouse cultivated rhubarb. But last week’s venture to the farmers market with my parents was a success with a bunch pretty stalks of wild rhubarb making their way into our basket.

I really wanted to use it before their return to France and thought that a go at rhubarb sorbet would be a good one to whirl but we did not have nearly enough. I was going to acquiesce to my mother stewed rhubarb but I knew B. would never put a dent in it. The mushy texture of stewed rhubarb is something the man cannot stand. I like it on plain yogurt or fromage blanc.

Lavender Panna Cotta With Poached Rhubarb

As much as I wanted to make my grandmother’s rhubarb tart it would have to wait until I am completely happy with the results. There was one elusive whiff of a scent whenever she’d pull hers out of the oven and I have yet to nail it down but I am getting close. Ha!

In the meantime, I made one of the desserts I knew would make everyone happy, Lavender Panna Cotta with Poached Rhubarb.

There is something about lavender that I can’t never grow tired of. I grew up in Provence, surrounded by lavender and mimosa. One look at a lavender bud and I feel like I am six again. Once the scent hits my nose I can almost hear the cicadas in the background and my mom yelling from the patio to get down from the apricot tree. Yes, it was a rather idyllic upbringing. One I wish to share with B. when we move back home eventually one day in our old age.

Lavender Panna Cotta With Poached Rhubarb

Beside sorbet, this is one of our favorite ways to eat rhubarb, gently poached in lemon juice and a touch of honey until barely fork tender to preserve most of the texture that would be lost otherwise. The contrast with the silky panna cotta both in texture and flavor elicited lots of oohs and ahhs from the table the other day. Lots of fidgeting and eying the kitchen for second too!

I had made more panna cotta and had gotten some more rhubarb ready to be chopped and poached for when Tami came to visit but we never got around to it. Too much fun was being had on the town. The house was so quiet after a month of visitors that both B. and I were glad to have a couple of these to dig into to chase the blues away.

Lavender Panna Cotta With Poached Rhubarb

By the way….if you are in Charleston this week, do not miss Cabaret at the Sottile Theater. Great cast, great performances! And I am not just saying that because B. plays in the orchestra (although I am kind of very proud he is!)

Green cups: Anthropologie
Low bowls: Anthropologie
Blue tea cups: vintage gift from
Tray: vintage find
napkins: remnant pack from
Cicada studio

Lavender Panna Cotta with Poached Rhubarb

Serves 4-6

For the panna cotta:
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin (2 sheets gelatin)
1/4 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon edible lavender buds
2 cups full fat buttermilk

For the poached rhubarb:
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup water or sweet white wine or blush wine
2 tablespoons honey
5 stalks rhubarb, chopped into small pieces (1/2 inch)

Prepare the panna cotta:
Place the water in small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Reserve.
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan placed over medium heat, bring the heavy cream, honey and lavender buds to a simmer. When the cream is hot, remove from the heat and whisk in the reserved gelatin until it is completely dissolved. Add the buttermilk and whisk until well blended.
Divide the mixture among 4-6 cups or ramekins. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving to let the cream set properly. Top with the poached rhubarb just before serving.

Prepare the rhubarb:
Place the lemon juice, water (or wine) and honey in a heavy bottom saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and add the pieces of rhubarb. Poach for 2-3 minutes then gently remove the rhubarb from the poaching liquid and set aside (they will continue to soften as they cool). You can reduce the poaching liquid to a syrup over medium heat and use to drizzle over the panna cotta, it’s fantastic.


Le P’tit Coin Francais:

Pour les panna cotta:
2 feuilles de gelatin
1 verre d’eau
500ml de creme liquide
60ml de miel
1 cs de lavende
500ml de lait ribot (babeurre)

Pour la rhubarbe:
5 tiges de rhubarbe, coupees en des
jus d’un citron
250ml d’eau ou de vin blanc sucre ou de rose
2 cs de miel

Preparer les panna cotta:
Mettre la gelatine a ramollir dans l’eau.
Dans une casserole a fond epais, chauffer la creme avec le miel et la lavende jusqu’a fremissement. Hors du feu, ajouter la gelatine refroidie et bien melanger pour qu’elle fonde. Ajouter le lait ribot et bien melanger de nouveau.
Verser dans des coupes ou des ramequins et laisser refroidir a temperature ambiante pendant 20 minutes. Placer ensuite au refrigerateur de preference 2 a 4 heures.

Pour la rhubarbe pochee:
Porter a ebulition le jus de citon, miel et eau (ou vin) a chauffer dans une grande casserole. Ajouter la rhubarbe et faire pocher 2-3 minutes. Prelevez les morceaux du liquide et mettre de cote. Reduire le liquide de pochage de moitie et verser sur les panna cotta avec la rhubarbe.

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baileym April 13, 2010 um 4:32 pm

where did you find those cute little custard cups?

Jennifer April 13, 2010 um 4:32 pm

Oh my!!! YUM!!! I have been putting stewed rhubarb in my oatmeal and greek yogurt lately.. but this panna cotta!!!

Callie Grayson April 13, 2010 um 4:36 pm

I so can't wait until we grow rhubarb here in chicago, warm up already!!
these look fabulous!!!

bunkycooks April 13, 2010 um 4:47 pm

What a nice way to serve rhubarb. The pictures are beautiful and perfect to usher in Springtime!

Kate at Serendipity April 13, 2010 um 5:08 pm

Oh, yes! I love panna cotta. We're just home from the US, and as soon as I unpack I'm off to find some rhubarb.

Lovely recipe! Thanks.

m April 13, 2010 um 5:25 pm

Panna cotta!! I can't wait for summer to come.

Anonymous April 13, 2010 um 5:28 pm

still (somewhat) patiently waiting for rhubarb at my market. crossing fingers for this weekend-drooling over this recipes. sounds divine.

Helene April 13, 2010 um 6:41 pm

baileym: you can find them on Anthropologie. Early birthday present from my parents.

Unknown April 13, 2010 um 7:04 pm

Delicious and inspiring!

I wish I could get some fresh lavender here. Rhubarb is on of my favorite things to sweeten and eat in the warm season. This recipe almost looks healthy (except for the heavy cream I suppose!). Beautiful recipe, as always.

Danielle April 13, 2010 um 7:48 pm

Rhubarb hasn't appeared at our Farmers' Market yet, and I'm already dreaming up recipes for it! I do believe poaching it is the best way to go as it tames the acidity and tartness. Lovely pics!

Barbara April 13, 2010 um 9:14 pm

Gorgeous custard cups Helene. Nice way to serve rhubarb. It makes a change from my favourite crumble.

Anonymous April 13, 2010 um 9:43 pm

I love both Panna Cotta and rhubarb. The combination is perfect!
Thank you

Chocolate Freckles April 13, 2010 um 9:58 pm

A beautiful light dessert!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks amazing!!!! mmmmmmm

Engineer Baker April 14, 2010 um 1:11 am

Lavender and rhubarb – I never would have thought of it, but it sounds wonderful. And I grew up always eating it in compotes and crumbles and pies, so this prep is intriguing. And gorgeous, of course!

El April 14, 2010 um 1:49 am

Beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration!

Unknown April 14, 2010 um 2:59 am

oh wow – I also live in Charleston and have heard great things about the Cabaret! So cool!

Unknown April 14, 2010 um 2:59 am

I recently made my first rhubarb and strawberry tart, and have also begun a love affair with rhubarb.

I cannot believe you grew up in Provence! That is where I want to live! Your photos are absolutely GORGEOUS. xo

Sarah April 14, 2010 um 3:04 am

Rhubarb is my favorite – any way. Sorbet is a great idea, I'll have to do that soon!

consumableJoy April 14, 2010 um 4:11 am

Oh my… I love the sound of it… and the thought of lavender pannacotta is both luscious and light. The photos are so gorgeous they make it completely irresistable, even if I know that if I made it it would never look that good (nor would my photos be so lovely)

Emily April 14, 2010 um 6:18 am

Stunning pictures as always and a beautiful recipe. I just love rhubarb and panna cotta is a favourite of mine. I have such good memories of Provence when I visited it a few years ago in winter with the most incredible light.

Anonymous April 14, 2010 um 6:37 am

A very beautiful pannacotta, love the red of the rhubarb on the pure whiteness. Also the flavours would be amazing!

bigjobsboard April 14, 2010 um 6:48 am

Wow. That dish is surely delightful! Thanks for posting that recipe. My wife will love this,

Paula April 14, 2010 um 7:52 am

so far the only thing with rhubarb was a rhubarb cake, but your panna cotta is so encouraging!

have a sunny day!

queencake and titangirl April 14, 2010 um 11:22 am

have just made an upside down rhubarb cake, but this looks even more delicious, now i am seriously tempted to feed my family on rhubarb alone this week:)) would you be so kind to tell me what was in the tarte au rhubarbe that your grandmother made? am looking for new tarte recipes and tarte au rhubarbe sounds lovely. thanks for your help! best from berlin, anja/ [email protected]

Carole Poirot April 14, 2010 um 11:41 am

Oh, I love, love, love lavender and it sounds delicious in a pannacotta. Thanks for the fantastic inspiration. Love from London x

Jolette April 14, 2010 um 1:51 pm

Anthropologie rocks! I've never had rhubarb but I really think I should try it sometime.

Lilly Higgins April 14, 2010 um 3:13 pm

This looks unbelievable! I can't wait to make it. The texture of the panna cotta with the rhubarb! And the sharpness with the creaminess! Beautiful. I love poaching rhubarb in honey too. Really lovely and incredible photos too of course! x

mouni April 14, 2010 um 3:47 pm

j'adore les panna cotta et cette version lavande a de quoi nous mettre l'eau ร  la bouche

The Short (dis)Order Cook April 14, 2010 um 5:31 pm

HA HA! You said rhubarb! ๐Ÿ˜€ I wondering if someone said "tarte a la rhubarbe" would it have the same effect on me as "rhubarb pie"? I don't know, but this post brought a smile to my face with the pretty rhubarb pieces and that lovely panna cotta. I keep saying I will try one of your panna cotta recipes since I'm always a little afraid of the stuff, but I haven't been brave yet. Shame on me!

Patricia Scarpin April 14, 2010 um 5:58 pm

Helen, I have never tried rhubarb (it's really difficult to find it here), but can perfectly say these are wonderful just by looking! Beautiful desserts.

Little Inbox April 15, 2010 um 12:22 am

Hi, thanks for dropping by my blog.
Love your beautiful photos!

Zoe April 15, 2010 um 3:03 am

Ohhh, it looks delicious!

I didn't know where else to suggest this, but I was wondering if you'd consider making a FAQ post. You could give your readers a week or two to ask you questions, and you could answer the most recurring ones. ๐Ÿ˜€

Have a great week!

margot April 15, 2010 um 10:52 am

Ohhh!! Very nice fhoto & sweet.

margot April 15, 2010 um 10:52 am

Ohhh!! Very nice fhoto & sweet.

Julie M. April 15, 2010 um 4:40 pm

Mmmm. Rhubarb brings back memories of my childhood. I have a really hard time finding it down south. Where did you get yours?

berry lovely April 15, 2010 um 8:09 pm

Beautiful photographs as always. I love your deep dish plate, very pretty. Rhubarb was always the first spring fruit/ vegetable ready in our garden at home. I really miss just going out and cut some stalks.

Coco April 16, 2010 um 7:11 pm

lavender is popular this week ๐Ÿ˜‰ Im seeing it everywhere!! beautiful photographs, as usual!

Emily April 19, 2010 um 6:59 pm

I made your panna cotta this weekend and LOVED it. The flavors are so beautifully complex, perfectly evoking springtime. It was like eating a Monet. Thanks for the lovely recipe!

Kate @ Savour Fare April 19, 2010 um 7:08 pm

I just found rhubarb in the market at a reasonable price yesterday for the first time, so of course I bought 3 lbs of it. Rhubarb parfaits, and I'm thinking jam, since it's so hard to find in the stores here. Of course, now panna cotta is calling my name …

Kate @ Savour Fare April 19, 2010 um 7:45 pm

I just found rhubarb in the market at a reasonable price yesterday for the first time, so of course I bought 3 lbs of it. Rhubarb parfaits, and I'm thinking jam, since it's so hard to find in the stores here. Of course, now panna cotta is calling my name …

ds April 19, 2010 um 9:22 pm

Yum. May I ask, do you strain the lavender buds from the cream before adding the gelatin? I sort of assumed you would, and I don't see any specks of it in your photos

esther April 23, 2010 um 10:34 am

What a great flavor combination. Definitely something to try soon!

Yannick April 23, 2010 um 9:29 pm

I really don't like rhubarb, but my wife does. I have to do that for her ๐Ÿ™‚

Lavender has a great smell. I'm from the south of France, and nothing is better than the smell of huge field of lavender with the sound of cigale (cicada??).

It's like heaven ๐Ÿ™‚ really

argone April 25, 2010 um 12:34 pm

par quoi pourrais-je remplacer le lait ribot, introuvable en France ?

Helene April 25, 2010 um 1:45 pm

Argone: le lait ribot c'est du babeurre (voir les parentheses) que l'on trouve en France mais pas dans toutes les regions. C'est un derive du lait que l'on trouve aisement au Nord de la France. Vous pouvez le remplacer par du kefir ou faire le votre: Pour chaque "cup" (250ml) de lait ribot, versez 1 a 2 cc de jus de citron dans le fond de la tasse et ajouter du lait entier jusqu'au bord. Laisser reposer 5 minutes avant d'utiliser.

Feta & Arepa May 4, 2010 um 9:11 pm

Thank you very much for the lovely recipe! I just made it and it was amazing!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sophie Sportende Foodie May 13, 2010 um 7:46 pm

What a beautiful & lovely special panna cotta!!!

I so love this tasty & special dessert!!


Anonymous June 16, 2010 um 11:09 am

I do love panna cotta..
Looks fantastic!

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