This floral panna cotta style dessert is compliments of Alex Rosenberg-Rigutto, adapted from The Joy of Cooking 1997 edition. It uses a blend of bioregional wildflowers to impart the final dish with a delicate floral flavor - so experiment with your local botanicals and use whatever you have on hand!
Gather a glass baking dish, six 4oz small ramekins or 4oz oven proof glass jars, aluminum foil, a small sauce pan, and a mixing bowl.
Flower choice and steeping time are PARAMOUNT and will make or break this recipe. Please use flowers that are aromatically sweet and do not over steep them. Taste often while infusing! If you want a stronger flavor, consider double infusing with fresh petals rather than infusing the same petals for longer. Magnolia, rose, lilac, dandelion, honeysuckle, black locust, violet, apple blossom, lavender, rosemary flowers, tulsi blossoms, mint flowers, etc would be very nice here. If you do not have access to edible flowers, try using sweet tasting herbs or leaves that you enjoy.
Botanical Pots de Crème Recipe
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
6 duck egg yolks (chicken will work fine as well)
¼ cup maple sugar (or whichever granulated sugar you like)
1 cup (or more!) fragrant and sweet edible flower petals (petals ONLY!!!) (recipe was tested with magnolia petals and honeysuckle blossoms)
Optional drizzle of vanilla extract or scraped vanilla bean
Pinch of salt
- Combine milk, cream, and flower petals in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat until steaming but not simmering, stirring frequently to heat evenly and prevent a skin from forming. Place a lid over top if you notice volume loss due to evaporation.
- Taste the milk mixture frequently. Some flowers can impart bitter flavors if heated to hot or too long. When sufficiently infused, strain the milk through a fine sieve into a jar or bowl
- At this point, you can allow the aromas and oils from the flowers to meld with the milk and develop overnight in the fridge, or continue right away to next steps.
- Preheat the oven to 325 and ready your baking dish
- Crack and separate your egg whites from yolks. Save the whites for later and add the yolks to a spouted mixing bowl.
- Add your sugar to the yolks and whisk well until combined and a pinch of salt and vanilla if using and whisk again
- Heat your infused milk in a small saucepan until steaming but not simmering, stirring often
- Slowly begin to drizzle the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture while whisking vigorously until you have tempered the mixture. Keep adding until completely combined
- If small lumps have formed, strain the tempered mix through a sieve into a new bowl to remove them. Skim any foam that has formed on the top of the mix.
- Fill your UNGREASED ramekins or jars with the mixture and cover them tightly with foil so no skin forms. Place them in your glass baking dish and fill the dish carefully with water so the ramekins are submerged halfway
- Place your dish in the oven for 45-50 minutes until the pots are jiggly but set. Remove from the water bath, take off the covers and allow to cool before moving them to the fridge.
- Serve chilled with berries, chopped nuts, more flower petals, or whatever topping suits your fancy. Perfectly decadent and lovely on their own!