Lavender Panna Cotta & Rhubarb Coulis

My brain is on overload. It’s the season for strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, rhubarb… all the things I love are in season all at once, and some of them not for very long. So where to start? What to make first? I’d like to have a giant kitchen where I can lay out ingredients for four dishes at once, make the first, then move on to the next, and so on. And of course have the time to do it all. Well, there’s always next week, when we’ll have another public holiday that falls on a Thursday, we usually take Friday off, so I’ll have a long 4-day weekend to get stuck in the kitchen with my to do list.

With so much food in season right now, I had to sit down and write a list of what I want to make and prioritize it according to what I already bought at the market and what will be out of season soon. Last week I made rhubarb & vanilla jam, and I had some rhubarb left, so I was thinking of things to make from it. One of the things that came to mind was rhubarb panna cotta with lavender syrup. Which I then couldn’t visualise after all, so I just turned it around, and voilà – we have today’s Lavender Panna Cotta & Rhubarb Coulis.

If you’ve been a reader for some time, you’ll know that I just love panna cotta, and have posted quite a few versions already. Panna cotta is just so adaptable, I’m always amazed what you can combine it with, spruce it up with and spice it up with. And it’s prepared so quickly. Unfortunately, it’s consumed way too quickly, too…

This version is another winner for me, well worth making. Even though the coulis turned out a little thicker than I had imagined, tastewise it was even better than I had expected. To me, the flowery taste of lavender combined with the slightly sour rhubarb felt like a veritable explosion of tastes on the tongue.

You can make the panna cotta in advance – it needs refrigerating for at least for 4 hours, or overnight. You can also prepare the rhubarb beforehand, as the peeling and cutting takes a little time, too.

Lavender Panna Cotta & Rhubarb Coulis

Panna Cotta
250 ml cream
25 g sugar
2 gelatine sheets*
1 tbsp dried lavender buds, chopped

250 g rhubarb, peeled and diced
65 g sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

*Note: 1 German gelatine sheet is 12 x 7 cm of size. This might vary in other countries!

For the panna cotta, soak gelatine sheets in cold water. Bring cream, sugar, and chopped lavender buds to a boil, then reduce heat and keep simmering for 10 minutes.

Squeeze out gelatine leaves. Strain lavender cream through a sieve to remove lavender buds, and discard buds.

Quickly whisk gelatine into the cream, making sure there are no lumps. Pour into moulds of your choice (small bowls, ramekins, espresso cups… the choices are endless) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. [I always refrigerate overnight. If you intend to serve the panna cotta in the moulds, cover it with clingfilm so it doesn’t form a skin. If you’re going to turn it out onto dessert plates, that won’t be necessary.]

For the coulis, bring rhubarb and sugar to a boil, then let simmer – stirring frequently – for about 15 minutes. Either strain the rhubarb through a sieve, or purée, then stir in the lemon juice. [I puréed the rhubarb, and for taking pics – because honestly, the colour does not look too appealing – added some red food colouring.]

Arrange panna cotta with the rhubarb coulis. The coulis should be served either directly after cooking, or lukewarm.