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Roasted Apricot and Lavender Panna Cottas

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….

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spicyicecream August 11, 2008 um 7:05 am

That is so lovely – the words, thoughts, photograph… oh and the recipe too 🙂 Happy Birthday to your mother!

Christy August 11, 2008 um 7:15 am

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 August 11, 2008 um 7:22 am

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 August 11, 2008 um 7:44 am

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 August 11, 2008 um 8:06 am

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

Hope your mam has a wonderful anniversaire.

Manggy August 11, 2008 um 8:13 am

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!

Deeba PAB August 11, 2008 um 8:19 am

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 August 11, 2008 um 9:16 am

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



Anonymous August 11, 2008 um 11:12 am

Darling, those look sensational! What a wonderful pairing of flavours – I can’t wait till summer comes back so I can try roasting peaches 🙂

Anonymous August 11, 2008 um 11:13 am

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 !

Cannelle Et Vanille August 11, 2008 um 11:28 am

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 August 11, 2008 um 12:04 pm

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.

Anonymous August 11, 2008 um 12:12 pm

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

Anonymous August 11, 2008 um 12:26 pm

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

bluemagpie August 11, 2008 um 12:58 pm

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!


Anonymous August 11, 2008 um 2:18 pm


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.


Bridget August 11, 2008 um 2:22 pm

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 August 11, 2008 um 2:24 pm

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 August 11, 2008 um 2:27 pm

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 🙂

montague August 11, 2008 um 3:13 pm

gosh – lavender and apricots – yum!

Mary August 11, 2008 um 4:20 pm

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!

Anonymous August 11, 2008 um 4:34 pm

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 August 11, 2008 um 4:45 pm

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

That Girl August 11, 2008 um 5:02 pm

I’d prefer panna cotta to cake any day!

Anonymous August 11, 2008 um 5:06 pm

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?

Kajal@aapplemint August 11, 2008 um 6:23 pm

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 August 11, 2008 um 6:28 pm

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 August 11, 2008 um 6:34 pm

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 August 11, 2008 um 6:59 pm

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 August 11, 2008 um 7:14 pm

What a lovely and thoughtful birthday present!

Maria August 11, 2008 um 7:28 pm

Looks like the perfect summer dessert!

Mansi August 11, 2008 um 7:56 pm

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 August 11, 2008 um 8:46 pm

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 August 11, 2008 um 8:46 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Annemarie August 11, 2008 um 8:54 pm

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 August 11, 2008 um 9:54 pm

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

Mama Mia August 12, 2008 um 12:51 am

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

Mama Mia August 12, 2008 um 12:52 am

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

glamah16 August 12, 2008 um 1:45 am

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

test it comm August 12, 2008 um 2:03 am

Those look good! I like the little pots.

Heather August 12, 2008 um 2:42 am

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

Anonymous August 12, 2008 um 4:06 am

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

cindy* August 12, 2008 um 4:58 am

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

Snooky doodle August 12, 2008 um 5:33 am

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.

Susan @ SGCC August 12, 2008 um 5:38 am

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 August 12, 2008 um 5:52 am

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 August 12, 2008 um 11:21 am

Superbe et très alléchant!
Un bon anniversaire à ta maman 🙂

Anonymous August 12, 2008 um 1:12 pm

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.

Helene August 12, 2008 um 1:36 pm

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 August 12, 2008 um 2:52 pm

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 August 12, 2008 um 3:11 pm

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 August 12, 2008 um 3:18 pm

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

Anonymous August 12, 2008 um 3:21 pm

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!

Helene August 12, 2008 um 3:22 pm

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.

K Allrich August 12, 2008 um 4:47 pm

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.)

anadelicias August 12, 2008 um 6:38 pm

Happy Birthday to your mom!!!!

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


Anonymous August 13, 2008 um 5:18 am

wow. beautiful! i’m sure your mum loved the panna cotta. they’re amazing and so creative! 🙂

Anonymous August 13, 2008 um 6:08 am

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 August 13, 2008 um 7:35 am

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 August 13, 2008 um 7:35 am

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

Happee Monkee August 13, 2008 um 8:23 am

What a beautiful and creative creation! Good work!

Anonymous August 13, 2008 um 8:42 am

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

Nic August 13, 2008 um 10:57 am

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

LyB August 13, 2008 um 12:50 pm

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

cakewardrobe August 13, 2008 um 3:04 pm

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

ana dane August 13, 2008 um 4:35 pm

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!

Anonymous August 13, 2008 um 7:11 pm

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 August 14, 2008 um 12:55 am

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 August 14, 2008 um 4:06 pm

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 August 15, 2008 um 2:43 am

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 August 15, 2008 um 9:17 pm

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

Anita August 15, 2008 um 9:27 pm

So pretty – your mother is very lucky!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups August 26, 2008 um 8:27 am

Love every part of this one!

#1SAHM August 28, 2008 um 5:24 pm

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

Susan from Food Blogga September 1, 2008 um 10:32 pm

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

Anonymous September 1, 2008 um 11:45 pm

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.

Anonymous September 5, 2008 um 8:47 pm

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

Anonymous September 8, 2008 um 10:14 am

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

Anonymous November 20, 2008 um 3:20 pm

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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