dark chocolate panna cotta & lavender basil whip cream

omgosh. happy 2013 everyone! is that not cuh-ray-zee? we’ve taken a nice break from the blog as you can see. enjoying time with family, friends, and each other. we hope you all had a wonderful holiday & new year.

this weekend, my friend caitlin came to stay with us, along with her wonderful friend (and my new friend) cas! caitlin is currently in the midst of her trek around the world, working on vineyards and learning more and more about the wine industry. her goal is to become a food & wine critic, or a buyer for high-end restaurants. how cool is that?

anyway, we really wanted to make them dinner while they were with us. we stuck to dishes that were homey and warm, for a nice evening in – so we chose caprese skewers, bruschetta, and my grandma’s not so secret eggplant parm! but, we decided that we had to throw in something fabulous that would end the evening perfectly. so we made this for dessert!


panna cotta


that, my sweet, is a dark chocolate panna cotta with a lavender basil whip cream!

uh – what?!?! yes…you heard me.

this dessert is not one for the faint of heart. it’s rich and decadent. and will leave you dreaming about it days later. so it’s a damn good thing that it’s the new year and this is a one time thing for us!

dark chocolate panna cotta
1 1/2 cups heavy cream – split into 1/4 c and 1 1/4 c
1 1/4 tsp plain gelatin powder
2 tbls unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tbls sugar
A pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 bar of ghirardelli 70% cacao extra bittersweet chocolate (about 3 oz), chopped


panna cotta 2

step 1) in a microwave bowl, take 1/4 cup of your heavy cream and mix in your 1 1/4 tsp of gelatin. let this sit for 5-10 minutes – it will solidify. after the sitting period, pop the bowl into the microwave for 30 seconds. this will turn the solidified mixture into a syrup-like substance.

step 2) in a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, combine the following ingredients: remaining 1 1/4 c cream, cocoa powder, mascarpone cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. bring this mixture to a slow boil.

step 3) remove from heat and add in your chopped bittersweet chocolate. whisk until the chocolate has been thoroughly incorporated.

step 4) take your cream & gelatin mixture and add this mixture to your sauce pan and stir.

step 5) next you’re going to need to strain your panna cotta mixture through a mesh strainer into your ramekins. let this sit out until it is room temperature. then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5+hours.

now for the super fun part! 

lavender-basil whip cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 fresh basil leaves
1 tbls dried lavender
1 tbls sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

step 1) in a small covered container, add heavy cream, basil and lavender and let sit over night in refrigerator.

step 2) when about ready to serve, place a metal bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes.

step 3) take the cooled bowl out of the freezer, and strain the flavored heavy cream into the bowl. removing all lavender flowers and basil leaves. mix in your sugar and vanilla extract.

step 4) using a stand mixer or hand mixer on a medium speed, whip your heavy cream mixture until it forms thick peaks.

step 5) dollop your whip cream on your finished panna cotta & serve!


panna cotta 3



cheers! x



  1. Alejandra says

    My husband is obsessed with panna cotta and I’m always looking for new variations. I LOVE the lavender basil whipped cream!

    • ali.jamie says

      thanks alejandra! this dessert was so easy to make & did not disappoint. if you make it, let us know how it turns out. at first we were skeptical with the whip cream, but it actually ended up being delicious. xxx

  2. Meaghan says

    Wow- this sounds amazing. I wanted to see how you made the lavender basil whipped cream, but now both sound like must-try’s after reading how to make the panna cotta!


    • ali.jamie says

      hi meaghan! they are both so easy, right? i think we could have gone with a little more basil in the whip cream. if you try it out and add more basil let me know how it turns out. :) xxx -ali

    • ali.jamie says

      thanks jaime! you’ve got a super cute blog too – i’m a big fan! gotta love my fellow boston bloggers. xx

    • ali.jamie says

      hi kara! thanks for stopping by. i guess it depends on what you’re serving the panna cotta in. when we made it, we got 4 of these shallow dish ramekins equally distributed. hope that helps. sorry we don’t have an exact answer. xxx – ali

  3. Jo G. says

    Hi! I wanted to try making your recipe but wanted to know first how many servings is this recipe for?
    Thank you.

    • ali.jamie says

      Hi Jo! Thanks for stopping by. Sorry we are a few days late in getting back to you. Unfortunately I can’t give an exact answer because I think the # of servings depends on what dish you are planning on serving it in. Does that make sense? We were able to get 4 equal servings using the shallow creme brûlée (about 5″ in diameter) dishes that you see in the pictures.

      I hope that helps. If you try out the dessert, let us know how it goes!
      Enjoy. xxx – Ali

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