Lemon Panna Cotta with Seasonal Fruit

For the past year or so, my friend Nickol and I have been wanting to collaborate. Nickol is an Oregon-based pastry chef and the owner of Fox Tail Bakeshop in Bend, Oregon. She creates pastries that are beautifully whimsical, organically designed, and often decorated with wild flowers. I thought it would be nearly impossible to collaborate with Nickol as she works with all ingredients that don't really work with my healing diet. But when she commented on one of my instagram posts about how much she loved coconut milk Panna cotta, a small little idea popped into my head that began to blossom. I asked Nickol to come up with a coconut milk based Panna cotta recipe with seasonal compote and she joyfully agreed. I am obsessed with Panna cotta because it is a super easy no-bake dessert. It also reminds me of traveling in Italy a few summer's ago. Every little B and B I stayed in served super simple Panna cottas in the morning as an after breakfast dessert. Breakfast dessert is awesome on so many levels. Nickol created an incredible lemon cream tea infused Panna cotta with a strawberry and rhubarb compote sweetened with raw local honey and dates, which captures the seasonal flavors of Spring perfectly.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I have been in a professional kitchen since I was 13. I have always been a pastry chef working all over the world. I studied at The Culinary Institute of America and moved to London and Seattle for a bit. Then working in kitchens as an Executive Pastry Chef and eventually opening my own place. I opened Foxtail Bakeshop in October 2014. After moving to Bend from Portland, I wanted to make approachable restaurant style desserts at an affordable price. I love to be creative so my menu is constantly changing.

Can you tell us about the dessert your created? 

I chose this particular pairing because it is an easy recipe and quick treat that you can prepare at home for a dinner party or a fun snack. It is even wonderful for brunch. I love rhubarb and since we are getting lovely early Spring rhubarb, I thought it would go nicely with the lemon cream tea and coconut Panna cotta. I used the Lemon Cream Tea by Tumble Weed Tea because it is a local Oregon company and I love the hint of lemon to compliment the coconut milk and to add a spring-like essence.

Do you have any tips for making this dessert?

1. Let is chill for 4-5 hours for optimal consistency.

2. Don't skip slowly stewing the rhubarb. I tried to roast the rhubarb but since this recipe uses raw honey and palm sugar, they don't pull the natural sugars of the rhubarb well, so stewing is necessary to really bring the natural sweetness out.

3. If you are using a coconut milk with guar gum, use 1/8 tsp less gelatin.

4. If you can't get Tumble Weed Tea Lemon Cream Tea, chamomile, rose tea or early grey will work well in its place.

Lemon Panna Cotta with Seasonal Fruit

IIngredients

  • 1 can natural value coconut milk, 13.5oz
  • 2/3 cup coconut cream (from the top of the container)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons lemon cream tea or any tea you prefer (rose tea, chamomile, or earl grey)
  • Stewed rhubarb and Strawberries 
  • 2 rhubarb stalks, chopped
  • 1 basket strawberries, halved
  • 1/8 cup raw honey
  • 1/8 cups coconut palm sugar
  • 4 dates, putted and chopped
  • Method: Place all ingredients in a sauce pot and cook on low until rhubarb is tender. Remove from heat and chill for 1 hour. Once cooled spoon onto Panna cotta.

Instructions

  1. Lemon panna Cotta:
  2. Method: Put all the ingredients in a sauce pot except the gelatin. Heat the cream, sugar, and tea until it begins to just simmer. Turn off the heat and let steep for 15 minutes. In a separate bowl bloom your gelatin with 4 tablespoons cold water. After 15 minutes strain coconut cream mixture to remove tea and whisk in your gelatin. Pour Panna cotta into any preferred cup or bowl and let chill for 4-5 hours.
  3. Stewed rhubarb and Strawberries
  4. Method: Place all ingredients in a sauce pot and cook on low until rhubarb is tender. Remove from heat and chill for 1 hour. Once cooled spoon onto Panna cotta.