The sight of crocuses and daffodils sprouting up always cheers me, not only because they signal the arrival of spring, but also because they seem to defy all odds. How something so delicate pushes through the hard earth is beyond me. Yet every year it happens, those bright petals bursting forth without any trace of winter weariness. A triumph of the softer side.
Soft, bright, and cheery is the spirit of this panna cotta too. A creamy and rich bottom layer infused with cardamom balances a burst of zesty lemon curd on top. If you haven’t tried making panna cotta before, it’s one of the easiest and yet most elegant of desserts; just allow for a few hours to set, then spoon over the lemon curd and serve.
Happy Friday, everyone! I hope signs of spring are sprouting in your neighborhood too. And please drop by the Fiesta Friday blog party for more delicious and inspiring treats.
Lemon & Cardamom Panna Cotta Parfaits
Makes 6 parfaits
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 tsp powdered gelatin
- finely crushed seeds of 6 cardamom pods (pods removed)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 Tbs. lemon curd (recipe follows)
- On the morning or night before you’d like to serve, make the panna cotta: Pour part of the milk into a saucepan and add the gelatin; let it sit until the gelatin softens and swells, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining milk, the cardamom, and the sugar and set the saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved. Do not let the liquid boil. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the cream and vanilla until blended. Divide the mixture evenly among 6 glasses (or bowls), cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.
- When the panna cotta is set, spoon over and smooth out 1 Tbs. of slightly warm lemon curd on the tops of each one, cover, and refrigerate again to chill, at least 20 minutes.
Note: this will make about 2 cups of lemon curd — more than you’ll need for the parfaits. You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy on toast, scones, waffles, ice cream, or yogurt.
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened) (2 ounces = 57 grams)
- 3 fluid ounces (use a liquid measuring cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 to 2 1/2 large lemons)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest (finely grated) (4 grams)
- Mise-en-place: Weigh the butter and set aside; zest and juice the lemons and set aside separately.
- In a nonreactive medium saucepan, use a wooden spoon to combine the egg yolks and sugar, mixing well. Then add the softened butter and mix well again. Add the juice and salt and mix again (with the addition of the juice, it will separate a bit, but a good stirring of the butter beforehand helps).
- Set a spouted bowl with a sieve over it close to the stovetop area.
- Set the saucepan over low heat and be ready to tend it, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When mixture is incorporated well again, slowly turn up the heat closer to medium. Keep stirring until it thickens like hollandaise sauce. A little steaming and bubbling on the sides are okay as long as you keep stirring vigilantly and lift off the heat when it looks like it might actually boil. You will feel the bottom center of the pan thickening the most as you stir. Keep letting it thicken until it is no longer translucent but slightly opaque and coats the spoon a nice golden-orange. When it thickens enough to coat the spoon (about 7 minutes), pour it through the sieve into the bowl you set aside. Add the zest.
- Pour into a canning jar or other container and let sit to cool. Note: If it cools too much to spread on top of the parfaits, you can microwave it for 30 seconds at a time until it’s spreadable. You can cover and store any leftover lemon curd in the fridge for a couple weeks.