Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Lavender Langues-de-Chat
Panna cotta, a silky baked cream, provides the perfect foil for flavors like jasmine tea and lavender. Langues de chat are oval pastries made with a thin dough. Lavender blossoms are scattered over the batter before it is baked, infusing the subtle flavor through the pastries. Fruit tossed in jasmine tea syrup laces the plates around the panna cottas; the langues de chat are the final touch.
- Panna Cotta
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2/3 cup
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Vanilla Beans - 2
- Unflavored gelatin - 1 1/2 packets
- Cold Water - 1/3 cup
- Lavender Langues de Chat
- Unsalted Butter - 1/4 lb (1 stick), softened
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1 cup, unsifted
- Egg Whites - 9
- Vanilla bean - 1, Scraped seeds
- Lavender blossoms - 1 tablespoon, dried or fresh
- Fresh Fruit with Jasmine Tea and Mint
- Water - 1/2 quart
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Jasmine tea leaves - 4 tablespoons
- Blackberries - 1/2 cup (alt. blueberries or raspberries)
- Figs - 1/2 cup, quartered
- Peach - 1/2 cup (alt. nectarine slices)
- Mint - 8 leaves, cut in chiffonade
- Confectioner’s Sugar - For dusting
- Mint tips - 8, with blossoms if available
To prepare the panna cotta: Place eight 2-1/2-inch timbale molds on a baking sheet. Put the cream and sugar in a 2-quart heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the mixture, then drop in the pods. Put the gelatin in the cold water in a small bowl to soften. Heat the cream mixture until it begins to boil and thickens. Pour through a fine-meshed sieve into a plastic pitcher. Stir the gelatin into the warm cream. When the gelatin has completely dissolved, pour the panna cotta into the molds and press plastic wrap on the surface of each. Chill for at least 2 hours.
To prepare the langues de chat : Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone sheet, or use a non-stick baking sheet. Place all ingredients except the lavender blossoms in a food processor and pulse to blend together; do not overmix. Remove the dough from the processor. It will be thin. Stir in the lavender blossoms. Spread in small oval patches, like cat’s tongues, on the prepared baking sheet. Make at least 8. Bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
To prepare the fruit: In a 2-quart pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of sugar and 4 tablespoons loose jasmine tea leaves. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Chill the tea syrup until ready to use. Chill the fruit until ready to use.
To serve: Unmold a serving of panna cotta on each chilled plate. The panna cotta will be very soft and “tender.” Toss the fruit and mint in the tea syrup and spoon around the panna cotta. Dust the langues de chat with confectioner’s sugar and place one on each serving. Garnish with mint tips.