I’m still talking about Tuscany – the food, photographs, memories. All in constant re-play. And although I visited this enchanting location last fall, Tuscany will forever remain in my heart.
DaVinci wine is created in a magical place. Tuscany is a treat for the eyes as well as the palate. The air smells of sweet, sun ripened grapes and fresh herbs, muddled with the earthy scent of mineral rich soil.
The beauty of the Tuscan region mirrors the beauty of its people and its food. A culture rich with history and laced with passion – a passion that transcends all boundaries and flows effortlessly onto the family table.
Among all the plates of gloriously delicious food, It seems only fitting to include a dessert laced with an herb that grows freely in Tuscany. Lavender bushes dot the landscape and scent the air with its sweet and earthy fragrance.
It happens to be one of my favorite herbs to incorporate into a sweet. So, a lavender laced panna cotta with dark chocolate ganache felt the perfect dessert to end this storyteller’s meal. And… a perfect beginning to spring.
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!
Lavender Panna Cotta with Dark Chocolate Ganache
Makes 8 – 10 servings
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons crushed dried culinary lavender buds (found in the spice area of your market)
½ cup plus two tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons powdered gelatin
6 tablespoons cold water
For the Ganache
8 ounces of your favorite dark chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
Heat the chocolate and heavy cream in a double boiler. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Let cool and then ladle over the panna cotta.
Heat the milk, heavy cream, sugar and crushed dried lavender buds in a sauce pan. Stirring, let the milk heat and sugar dissolve. However, don’t bring it to a boil or it could scald.
Let the milk and cream mixture sit for about 30 minutes to allow the lavender to infuse the milk.
Place the 6 tablespoons of cold water in the bottom of a large bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
Strain the warm milk mixture to remove the lavender. Then pour the milk mixture over the gelatin and whisk until the gelatin is dissolved.
Ladle the panna cotta into small serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but will be firmer if refrigerated longer.
Before serving prepare the dark chocolate ganache and top each panna cotta with the warm chocolate.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves or candied cherries.