How good is that feeling when you think to yourself ‘damn, this is good’ when you eat something that you’ve made. I try to be humble when it comes to my cooking (after all, you can only rave so much about making snags for dinner hehe) but I also think it’s important to be proud when you have made something that you think is really special. I felt very proud when I plated up a buttermilk panna cotta that was infused with lemon thyme and served with a crunchy, sweet and salty pine nut and lemon crumb.
They were very much inspired by this gorgeous blog post from Local Milk but I made some changes to the crumb and added some buttermilk to my panna cotta. I also chose to infuse the panna cottas with lemon thyme because I love the use of herbs in desserts.
I have made these twice now, the second time for my sister. She found it very amusing that I jiggled her panna cotta for her as I served it to her. She found it even more amusing when I said that a panna cotta jiggling is sexy haha. I’m sure a lot of you can relate though. A perfectly jiggly panna cotta is a real treat!
I adore the use of herbs in desserts and the lemon thyme in this recipe marries so well with the slightly tart buttermilk and the sweetness of the panna cotta. If you can’t get lemon thyme, you can use normal thyme with some lemon zest as I found that imparts a lovely flavour as well.
Heating the cream will help the lemon thyme infuse into it. Let it infuse for 30 minutes then remove all of the thyme, squeezing out any excess liquid from it.
To use powdered gelatine, let it ‘bloom’ in some water first. It will absorb the water and plump up and it will in turn combine much better with the rest of the ingredients.
After the buttermilk has been added to the cream and gelatine mix, strain it to remove any undissolved gelatine and any leftover thyme leaves. Straingin it into a jug will make it easy to then pour it into the ramekins.
This amount will be perfect for four 1 cup capacity ramekins. The panna cottas will need to set in the fridge completely, so it’s best to make these the day before so that they have overnight to set. If you’re short on time, you can serve these without being 100% set, but you won’t be able to un-mould them and they will still need a good 6 hours to come to a light set.
While I made the panna cottas the day before, I made the crumb on the day of serving. It will last overnight if need be, but it’s best when served fresh. The crumb is basically a rough biscuit mix which you sprinkle onto a baking tray to cook it and give it a lovely broken-biscuit texture.
Bake the crumb for 12-14 minutes, tossing it on the tray occasionally. Bake it until the crumbs are starting to brown on the edges and are golden in the middle.
A dip in some warm water will help un-mould the panna cottas. I’ve included some more detailed instructions on how to un-mould them in the recipe below.
Wobbly and creamy in texture.
Soft, crunchy and salty-sweet from the crumb. This is probably the best dessert that I’ve ever made :)
Lemon Thyme Infused Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Pine Nut, Olive Oil and Lemon Crumb
For the Buttermilk Panna Cotta – Adapted from Donna Hay
Ingredients – Serves 4
- 1 cup of thin / pouring cream
- Small handful (about 4g) of lemon thyme
- 1½ tsps of powdered gelatine
- ½ cup of fine sugar
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- Add the cream to a small saucepan and place it over medium heat. Heat it until it is just simmering. This should take only a few minutes.
- Once the cream is simmering, remove it from heat, add the thyme and set the saucepan aside, covered, for 30 minutes to infuse.
- Once the cream has infused, remove the thyme, squeezing out any extra liquid from it.
- Sprinkle the gelatine over ¼ cup of warm water in a small bowl. Set it aside for 5 minutes or until all the gelatine has absorbed the water.
- Add the sugar to the infused cream and place the saucepan back onto medium low heat. Stir it constantly until the sugar has dissolved and then increase the heat to medium and bring the cream mix to a boil.
- Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the gelatine mix, stir constantly for at least a minute until the gelatine has completely dissolved and mixed into the cream.
- Add the buttermilk and stir just until well combined. Strain the cream mix into a small jug and then evenly pour it into four 1-cup capacity ramekins. Let the panna cottas set in the fridge overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove the panna cottas from the fridge 15 minutes prior. To un-mould them, dip the bottom of the ramekins into a small amount of very warm (but not boiling) water, then using a small blunt knife or a thin palette knife, break the seal of the panna cottas by gently pushing the knife down between the edge of the panna cotta and ramekin in 2-3 places. Do not push all the way down to the base of the panna cotta though.
- Next, place the inverted ramekin onto the serving plate. It you don’t feel the panna cotta release from the ramekin entirely straight away, you may need to lift the plate up and holding both the plate and ramekin firmly with both hands, shake it downwards in a quick motion to help the panna cotta release from the ramekin.
- Sprinkle over the crumb and garnish with extra thyme leaves if you wish. Serve immediately. Panna cotta will last for 2-3 days in the fridge before being un-moulded.
For the Crumb – Inspired by Local Milk
Ingredients – Makes enough for 4 Panna Cottas
- 1 cup of plain flour
- 1/3 cup of fine sugar
- pinch of sea salt flakes
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbs of pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients together until well combined.
- Crumble the mix onto the baking tray in an even layer.
- Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes, tossing on the tray occasionally. Bake until the crumbs are starting to brown on the edges and are golden in the middle.
- Let cool completely before sprinkling the crumbs over the panna cottas. Keeps ok overnight, but best used on the same day as made.