Rose Geranium Leaf Panna Cotta

  1. The secret of a good panna cotta is to use as little gelatine as possible so that it has that lovely, voluptuous wobble and is lovely and silky to eat.   I’ve flavoured panna cotta with many things over the years from vanilla to fig leaf.  I’ve used lemon balm, lemon verbena, black currant leaves and actually tarragon or fennel are surprisingly good too.  Not that keen on lavender in a creamy dessert but it goes very well in shortbread if you want to serve that alongside – though make sure you don’t add too much if you want to avoid a soapy taste. For the shortbread recipe go to Traybake Shortbread and Variations for further details.

Although in Piedmont the panna cotta was, and usually is still served without any fruit, I have chosen here to serve it with rhubarb, which you can either poach or roast.  Next month I would probably flavour the cream with elder flowers and serve it with gooseberries, after that flavour it with tarragon or lemon verbena and serve it smith strawberries – the variations are endless.

I over-winter my scented geraniums so have lots of cuttings and spare leaves from pruning. The variety I used here is attar of roses but really any of the scented varieties will work.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 450ml double cream
  • 140ml whole milk
  • 8 rose geranium leaves
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 4tbsp vodka or white rum (I used Rhubarb Gin )
  • 8g gelatine leaves
  • extra geranium leaves to serve (optional)
  • rhubarb compote (optiona


  1. Heat double cream, milk, spirit, and rose geranium leaves with the sugar in a saucepan and stir until boiling.
  2. Allow to bubble away for a minute, before removing from heat and covering to allow leaves to infuse.
  3. Soften the gelatine leaves in cold water, before adding to the still warm cream cream mixture and stirring to dissolve
  4. Strain mixture through a sieve into a jug for easy pouring
  5. Divide between 6 ramekins.  Allow to cool and then cover with film or wax wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
  6. Run a palette knife round side of ramekins (dipping sides of ramekins into very hot water often helps too) and unmould into individual plates
  7. Place sweet geranium leaves if using around each as though they were petals of a flower and put fruit compote on top.
  8. Serve with shortbread if wished.


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