Lemon verbena has always been a very popular herb on the other side of the Channel but is rarely seen or used over here. It is incredibly easy to grow-I have three bushes in the garden which provide me with tons of leaves for my evening tisane (the plant is supposed to encourage sleep-not that I need much help…) and of course, with a light pruning you can make these delicious little wobbly panna cottas. Lemon verbena ice cream is also wonderful –I’ll do a recipe for that soon. I make this pudding in dariole moulds but you can use ramekins.
- 300ml double cream
- 180ml milk
- 30g lemon verbena (about 6 stalks)
- 100g caster sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 3 sheets gelatine (6g)
- 110g buttermilk
- A little vegetable oil for greasing the moulds
- Put the cream, milk, lemon verbena and caster sugar into a saucepan and stir over a moderate heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest and leave for one hour for the herb to infuse.
- Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes. Lift out of the water and stir into the warm cream. Leave for a further hour.
- Pass the contents of the saucepan through a sieve and press down on the lemon verbena to extract as much flavour as possible then discard.
- Stir in the buttermilk. Lightly oil 6 dariole moulds and pour in the cream. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 5-6 hours.
- To serve: carefully loosen the sides of the panna cotta with your fingers and place a serving plate on top. Invert the plate and mould and give the both a sharp shake. Hopefully the panna cotta will drop out of the mould onto the plate. Repeat with the remaining panna cottas. If you are having trouble you can dip the base of the moulds in boiling water for 10 seconds and then unmould. Serve with strawberries or blueberries.