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Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Plum and Rose Water Compote

yield: 8 (5-ounce) servings
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For the Plum and Rose Water Compote

    (makes about a pint of compote)

    • 2 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe plums
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon rose water

    For the Buttermilk Panna Cotta

    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
    • zest from 1 lemon
    • 1 packet, around 7 grams unflavored powdered gelatin
    • 3 tablespoons cold water
    • 3 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar


    For the Plum and Rose Water Compote

    • Pit and chop 2 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe plums into small 1/2-inch pieces, placing the contents into a non-reactive bowl (see baker's notes).
    • Once all the plums have been chopped, gently use a rubber spatula to toss the plums with 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon rose water, until the plums are evenly coated with the sugar. Allow the mixture to sit for 20 minutes or so.
    • Once the mixture has rested, transfer the contents of the bowl to a medium, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, occasionally stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to make sure that the fruit doesn't burn. Adjust the heat if needed and cook at a lazy boil for about 20 to 25 minutes, skimming off any foam that develops on top. Be mindful of the texture of the fruit, you don't want to cook or stir the fruit to the point that it breaks down and goes to mush!
    • After around 20 to 25 minutes, remove the pot from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. At this point, the mixture should have reduced and thickened considerably. Spoon the compote into a large, air-tight mason jar and refrigerate until ready to use, preferably overnight. The compote will keep for around 1 week.

    For the Buttermilk Panna Cotta

    • In a large, non-reactive bowl (see baker's notes), combine 1 cup buttermilk, 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice and the zest from 1 lemon, whisking the ingredients together until combined. Set aside.
    • Bloom 1 packet unflavored powdered gelatin by sprinkling it over a small bowl filled with 3 tablespoons water. The gelatin is bloomed when the gelatin granules are softened entirely, about 3 to 5 minutes — please see my baker's notes on how to bloom gelatin!
    • While the gelatin is blooming, combine 3 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream and 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar in a medium sauce pot. Over medium heat, warm the cream and sugar to just below a simmer, stirring continuously to dissolve the sugar.
    • Once the cream is just below a simmer, turn off heat and transfer the pot to a wire cooling rack. Whisk in the bloomed gelatin (from the 2nd step), whisking gently but continuously to integrate the gelatin.
    • Once the gelatin has been whisked into the cream, pour the hot cream into the buttermilk-lemon mixture (from the 1st step) and stir gently until the mixture looks homogenous.
    • Carefully transfer the mixture and pour into individual cups, transferring the cups into the refrigerator until set. Depending on our fridge, this can take as little as 3 hours, but it's best to allow the panna cotta to set overnight. Allow the panna cotta to cool down in the fridge for an hour or so, before covering each vessel with plastic wrap (in order to prevent the panna cotta from absorbing any weird flavors from the fridge).
    • Once the panna cotta is set, it is ready to serve. Serve cold and spoon 1 tablespoon of plum and rose water compote on top of each panna cotta serving. The panna cotta can also be enjoyed with the compote mixed in (as demonstrated by the janky gif of my boyfriend below).