Honey, Vanilla Bean & Lavender Panna Cotta with Gooseberry Syrup

My young gooseberry bush produced a scant cup’s worth of berries for the season, so I created a dessert where such a tiny quantity could still be the star. How does honey, vanilla bean and lavender panna cotta with a gooseberry syrup sound? I can tell you now, it tasted outstanding!

I love panna cotta, it’s light and lovely, and can be served with a myriad of toppings. Served in beautiful dishes, it’s the perfect dessert to wow friends or family. Plus, you can make it ahead of time, simply cover and refrigerate for up to two days. I’ve made today’s panna cotta with coconut milk rather than heavy cream. This recipe serves eight.

honey vanilla bean lavener panna cotta


For the panna cotta

3-1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk (two 13.5 oz cans)
1/3 cup raw, local honey (use 1/2 cup if you prefer a sweeter dessert)
1-1/2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender powder
1 packets powdered gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water

For the gooseberry syrup

1-1/4 cups cane sugar
1-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup gooseberries (can use any fruit, figs, berries, etc)


Panna Cotta

Heat the coconut milk and honey in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the honey is dissolved, remove from heat. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk and add the bean pod. Whisk in the lavender. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture over medium-low heat before continuing. Do not let it come to a boil.

Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil. If you plan on using goblets or other serving dishes, skip this step.

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 10 minutes.

Pour the very warm panna cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Divide the panna cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, at least four hours.

To unmold, dip each mold in very hot water for a few seconds (don’t let the mold get to hot), quickly run around the sides of the mold with a small knife, and set it upside down on a serving plate.

Alternatively, pour the panna cotta mixture into wine goblets or other pretty dessert dishes, so you can serve them without unmolding.

Serve chilled panna cotta with a drizzle of warm gooseberry syrup, recipe follows.

Gooseberry Syrup

Combine sugar and water in a small pan over medium heat. Whisk and cook until the sugar fully dissolves. (If you are using a sweeter fruit, such as strawberries, reduce sugar to 1 cup).

Meanwhile pull off the little brown or green bits at either end of the gooseberries. Cut gooseberries in half.

Add gooseberries to the sugar/water mixture. Let cook over low heat for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Strain the seeds and pulp from the syrup, and pour into a small glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate syrup until ready to use, then warm for a few seconds in the microwave before serving. The syrup is also delicious over waffles, ice cream, yogurt, etc.

honey vanilla bean lavener panna cotta


If you make this recipe, snap a pic of your dish and hashtag it #kellylenihancooks. I'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

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