Serve with small butter cookies or langue du chat.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Le Hammeau-Poached Apricots
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 vanilla bean, halved, scraped out with tip of knife, reserved
6 tablespoons sugar
very small pinch salt
Le Hammeau-Poached Apricots (recipe below)
Chamomile flowers, garnish
1. To prepare the panna cotta: Put gelatin in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons water; let soften 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed pot, bring cream, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add buttermilk and gelatin, whisking until completely dissolved. Transfer mixture to a spouted measuring cup, then divide mixture between 6 serving dishes or ramekins. Refrigerate until cold and firm, about 3 hours, or overnight.
3. To serve: add 3-4 slices of poached apricots and a few tablespoons of poaching liquid to each pannacotta. Garnish with chamomile flowers, if desired. ( To serve the panna cotta out of the mold, simply run a paring knife around the interior edge of the ramekin or dish. Invert the ramekin onto a serving plate and then, holding the ramekin to the plate, give a firm "shake", the panna cotta will release onto the plate. Proceed as above.)
Le Hammeau-Poached Apricots
4 cups spring or filtered water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup Bellocq - No.12 Le Hammeau tea
6-8 smallish apricots, quartered
1. In a heavy bottom pot, bring water and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Add the tea, cover, and steep 10 minutes. Strain into a clean saucepan.
2. Add the sliced apricots and poach, over low heat, until apricots are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Let apricots cool in poaching liquid. (And store in poaching liquid if preparing ahead.)
The remaining poaching liquid can be used to sweeten iced tea or cocktails!