For dessert at our Paris Pop-up Supper Club, I made a Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta from lemons I toted back from a friend’s San Francisco tree. You can make this using ordinary lemons, but the Meyers have a sweet strong perfume which is heavenly, just heavenly. On the other hand, they are not very acidic, so for this reason I recommend cutting the fragrant Meyers with ordinary lemons, say: 2/3 Meyer and 1/3 ordinary lemon juice such as Eureka, the sort sold in any grocers.
Did I mention that this was LUSCIOUS? And if by some chance it doesn’t gel, I freeze it for ice cream. Just sayin’…….
While individual moulds are lovely and gel more quickly, they are a bit more fiddly; i like the ease of pouring it into one big bowl, and also the rustic presentation of one big shallow bowl or pan…..it reminds me of eating panna cotta in a mountaintop village outside of Torino. There the panna cotta was unflavoured, pure cream, as is traditional, and the trattoria that dished it up did so with the style of a mamma, or a grandmamma, in the kitchen…….urging me to try, to have a little more…..”people drive all the way from Torino to taste this panna cotta!”.
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta
Serves 6 – 8
For the best balance of lemon flavour, i recommend using about 2/3 Meyer lemons and 1/3 regular lemons (Eureka or other acidic lemon), both for juice and zest; i find the powdered gelatin works best (ie most easiest) rather than the sheet gelatin as I am fairly sloppy about exactly measurements having made this all over the world without the necessary measuring cups. If by some chance it doesn’t seem to be firming up fast enough you can put it in the freezer for a small amount of time, say 30-40 minutes– then back into the fridge.
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup + 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup Meyer lemon juice (4-6 Meyer lemons)
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon peel minced (little chunks best)
1 cup nonfat Greek-style yogurt
Sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup cold water in a small bowl; let it soften for 5 minutes or until no dry spots remain.
Combine sugar and ½ cup of water in a saucepan; bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and add the gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Add cream, lemon juice and lemon zest. Let cool slightly.
Put yogurt in a mixing bowl and whisk to loosen it up. Add the cream mixture, little by little, gently stirring after each addition to break up any lumps of yogurt before adding more cream. Do not over stir.
Pour mixture into a 5-cup bowl or mold or use individual ramekins. Tap the bowl on the counter to remove air bubbles. Cover and chill until set, 6 hours or overnight.
Photo credit: Jill Hamilton-Brice