It's meyer lemon season, and anyone who's spent anytime in California can attest to it. Attest to it with cases of lemons, with so many lemons they don't know what to do with them apparently, or so my bookkeeper tells me on a cold afternoon a few weeks back, a feeble attempt to brighten our meeting after disclosing our profit margins for 2010, or lack there of. Meyer lemon custard! Distracted and happy again!
So I had it in my head last week when planning a little dinner party. It appears that some travel and a bit of R&R has turned me back into my old self, the type of woman who can wake up to brave fairway at 8:30 am - on a Saturday whats wrong with me? a kid bombed me with animal crackers from his strategic position in a shopping cart - teach a class, give an interview, run home, and be coming out of the shower right as guests arrive. Dinner is served! And here's the game changer; dessert is also served. As in we make coffee and tea like adults instead of uncorking more wine and making an impromptu dance party.
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta adapted from Annie's Pickins
Serves 6 – 8
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup + 2 tablespoons superfine sugar (this must be superfine sugar, not confectioners sugar)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup Meyer lemon juice (I found that 4 juicy lemons squeezed hard did the trick, but buy 5)
3 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest
1 cup Greek yogurt
Sprinkle 1 packet of gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water in a small bowl to dissolve gelatin. Bring Sugar and 1/2 cup of water to simmer in saucepan till sugar is fully dissolved. Turn off heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until incorporated. Add cream, lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir and let cool slightly.
Wisk yogurt in a mixing bowl till its very smooth, then add the lemon/cream mixture bit by bit to incorporate fully. Careful not to overstir or you'll have lots of air bubbles in your panna cotta, not a big deal, just less attractive..
Pour into ramekins. Place ramekins on cutting board or tray, cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate for 6 hours or overnight.
This really is the perfect dessert to trail a hearty tomato or peppery pasta. It would be off the wall with some shortbread. And some lavender syrup or thyme.
This morning, with one meyer lemon remaining (that is after a pizza two nights ago with thinly sliced meyer lemons, black olives, rosemary, goat cheese, fresh mozzarella; I DIED) I conjured all the math I could muster to divide the recipe in quarters to make just two ramekins. And I adjusted slightly, a little less sugar, a little more lemon zest, a little more yogurt, 1/2 & 1/2 instead of whipping cream. So you know, the recipe is a bit forgiving. Unlike my cash flow.