Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis & Pistachio Brittle

Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis & Pistachio Brittle
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About This Recipe

In the heart of wine country, where the rolling hills of Napa and Sonoma kiss the California sun, I chanced upon the delightful fusion of a classic Italian dessert with the refreshing zest of local citrus. I'm talking about a panna cotta recipe that captures the essence of Northern California—a Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta adorned with a bright Raspberry Coulis and crowned with Pistachio Brittle.

Panna cotta, which translates to "cooked cream," is an Italian dessert known for its simple elegance. But when you pair it with lemon beebrush, commonly known as lemon verbena, it morphs into a dessert reminiscent of a sunny day in Napa. The citrusy note of the lemon verbena combined with the creaminess of the panna cotta creates a tantalizing experience. And if you've ever enjoyed a raspberry panna cotta, you'll understand the allure of fresh raspberries turned into a coulis. This vibrant red sauce provides a tangy counterpoint to the panna cotta's creaminess, making every spoonful a celebration of flavors.

But wait, there's more! The piece de resistance in this culinary masterpiece is the pistachio brittle. Taking inspiration from recipes using raspberries and other local produce, the idea of adding a nutty crunch to this dessert was too tempting to resist. And the result? A delightful textural contrast that dances on the palate.

Now, while this dessert stands tall on its own, when in wine country, one always ponders the perfect wine to accompany a dish. With this dessert, one could easily gravitate towards the aromatic sweetness of a Moscato from the Robert Mondavi Winery. Its citrus undertones complement the lemon verbena beautifully. For those who fancy bubbles with their dessert, a sparkling wine from Domaine Carneros offers a classic pairing. The effervescence balances the creaminess of the panna cotta, while the wine's acidity harmonizes with the sweetness of the raspberry coulis. And for the more adventurous palate, a Late Harvest Riesling from Navarro Vineyards in Mendocino brings honeyed notes that echo the caramel tones in the pistachio brittle.

So, how does this dessert fit into a broader menu or a wine tasting itinerary? Envision starting with a fresh salad featuring Napa's finest greens, followed by a main course of roasted duck or herb-crusted lamb. And as the sun sets over the vineyards, ending your meal with this panna cotta feels like a gentle embrace from wine country itself.

Visiting Napa is not just about the wines but the entire sensory experience. The local produce, the innovative recipes, and the history embedded in every dish and drink tell a story. A story of a region rich in culinary heritage, where every vineyard and every kitchen sings a song of passion. And if you're ever in the region, a visit to local wineries like Frog's Leap provides a deeper dive into the world of wines that can be paired with local delicacies.

In conclusion, this Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis & Pistachio Brittle is more than just a dessert. It's a reflection of Napa and Sonoma, an embodiment of the region's flavors, and a testament to the creativity that thrives in California's wine country. Whether you're a local or a visitor, this dish offers a slice of Northern California on a plate, paired perfectly with wines that capture the region's spirit. So the next time you're in the mood for a dessert that tells a story, this panna cotta recipe awaits. Cheers!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Lemon Verbena (Lemon Beebrush)

Lemon verbena, also recognized as lemon beebrush, is a fragrant herb hailing from South America, known for its bold citrus aroma and subtle lemony flavor. While it's made its mark in teas and fragrances, the culinary world has embraced it for its ability to impart a delicate citrus touch without the acidity of a lemon. In our panna cotta recipe, lemon verbena elevates the creamy texture with a hint of zest, adding depth and character to every bite. This herb isn't just about flavor; it's packed with antioxidants and has been cherished for its calming properties.

How to Perfectly Unmold Panna Cotta

One of the challenges of a panna cotta recipe is the unmolding process. A flawless demolding ensures your dessert retains its shape, looking as delightful as it tastes. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Chill thoroughly: Ensure the panna cotta has set for the recommended time or until firm.
  2. Dip in Warm Water: Briefly dip the base of your ramekin or mold in warm water for about 10 seconds. Avoid letting the water touch the panna cotta surface.
  3. Loosen the Edges: Using a knife, gently run it around the edges of the mold.
  4. Invert and Tap: Place a serving plate over the ramekin, flip it upside down, and give it a gentle tap. The panna cotta should slide out gracefully.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use gelatin sheets instead of powdered gelatin? Absolutely! If you're more accustomed to gelatin sheets, you can substitute them. Typically, 4 gelatin sheets are equivalent to one packet of powdered gelatin. Always check the packaging for precise conversion.
  2. How long can I store the raspberry coulis? Raspberry coulis can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for longer storage, up to three months.
  3. I have a nut allergy. Can I skip the pistachio brittle? Yes, you can omit the pistachio brittle for allergy reasons. For a crunchy texture, consider substituting with a cookie crumble or even some granola.
  4. Can I use another berry instead of raspberries for the coulis? Of course! Blueberries, strawberries, or even blackberries can make delicious coulis. Adjust the sugar as per the berry's sweetness.
  5. What kitchen tools do I need for this recipe? Basic kitchen tools like saucepans, ramekins or molds, a blender for the coulis, and a heavy-bottomed pan for the brittle are essential. A candy thermometer can be handy for the brittle, ensuring it reaches the perfect temperature.

Tips for Success

  1. Use Fresh Ingredients: When it comes to a dessert as delicate as panna cotta, the quality of your ingredients makes a difference. Use fresh lemon verbena leaves and ripe raspberries for the best flavor.
  2. Monitor your Brittle: Making pistachio brittle requires attention. Keep an eye on the sugar syrup, ensuring it doesn't burn. Using a candy thermometer helps you achieve the right consistency without any guesswork.
  3. Chill the Panna Cotta Properly: It's tempting to rush, but allow your panna cotta to set completely. This ensures it holds its shape and gives the best texture when served.

Remember, while recipes provide guidelines, cooking is an art. Embrace the process, trust your palate, and relish every bite of your Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis & Pistachio Brittle.

Recipe Overview

Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis & Pistachio Brittle
Lily Anderson
6 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


For the Panna Cotta:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Raspberry Coulis:

  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Pistachio Brittle:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

Step-by-Step Directions

Panna Cotta:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the heavy cream, sugar, lemon verbena, and lemon zest. Heat on medium until sugar dissolves, ensuring not to boil.
  2. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the cold water and let stand for 5 minutes to soften.
  3. Remove the cream mixture from heat and strain out the lemon verbena. Stir in the softened gelatin until completely dissolved, followed by the vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the mixture into individual ramekins or molds and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until set.

Raspberry Coulis:

  1. In a blender, combine raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice until smooth.
  2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to remove seeds and refrigerate until ready to use.

Pistachio Brittle:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan, combine sugar and corn syrup, cooking over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook without stirring until the mixture turns golden.
  3. Stir in pistachios, baking soda, and salt. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread thinly. Allow to cool and harden, then break into shards.

To Serve: Unmold the panna cotta onto plates, drizzle with raspberry coulis, and top with shards of pistachio brittle.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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