i’ve been having a fling with hibiscus over the past few months; my infatuation with this unique ingredient going well past flirtation. after purchasing a (larger-than-anticipated) bag online, I’ve been putting them in just about everything, from macarons to sorbet to enchiladas. The dried petals imparting a subtle fuchsia hue to whatever they touch. I’ve come to love the surprisingly fruity and slightly floral flavor the petals produce, both intriguing and enlightening when it appears in unexpected places.

panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts; the combination of the creamy milk custard and the complete simplicity of the recipe make it an excellent choice for entertaining, as it’s both impressive and easy to put together. This version incorporates a goat cheese base, creamy and lightly scented with vanilla, with a rustic jam topping made with sweet bing cherries and exotic dried hibiscus flowers.

before you turn up your nose at the mention of goat cheese in a dessert, hear me out. it’s not overly pungent; instead, the cheese provides the slightest bit of tang and a unique, creamy texture to an otherwise plain vanilla custard. sure, if you really can’t stand goat cheese you can opt to leave it out, but I encourage you to keep an open mind and give it a try. lindsay


Cherry, Hibiscus, and Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

yield: 4 to 6 servings
active time: 20 minutes
total time: 4 hours

Panna Cotta
the ingredients

• 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
• 2 cups half-and-half
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup (3 ounces) soft goat cheese, softened
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Hibiscus & Cherry Topping

• 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
• 7 ounces fresh cherries (about 18), pitted and chopped
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice

how to make the panna cotta…

in a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup of cold water and let sit for 5 minutes to soften. heat half-and-half and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture just starts to steam. Remove from heat and stir in goat cheese, whisking until smooth. Stir in softened gelatin and vanilla extract until completely incorporated. divide among 4 (6-ounce) or 6 (4-ounce) jars or ramekins. arrange on a tray and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until set. meanwhile, to prepare topping, pour 1/2 cup boiling water over hibiscus flowers. let steep for 5 minutes, then strain, discarding flowers. combine hibiscus liquid, cherries, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until reduced by about half, about 15 minutes, or until thick and syrupy. transfer to a heat proof container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Just before serving, spoon topping over set custards.

(recipe + photos by lindsay landis for designlovefest– want more food posts & restaurant guides? go here!)


Add your own

    This look adorable and delicious! Thanks so much for sharing. Quick question for you, I am in love with the serving glasses. They look like vintage jelly jars! Would you happen to have a source for them? I’d REALLY appreciate it. I’ve been on the hunt! Thank YOU!

    Quinn Cooper says:

    This looks soo yummy.
    I don’t think I’ve ever had anything with hibiscus in it. I’d be interested to try this though.
    xo Quinn

    Quinn Cooper Style

    Always order panna cotta when on the menu, but have yet to make it at home. This is inspiring me! Adding it to the grand ole’ bucket list.

    This looks amazing! I love panna cotta – it’s so light and not overly sweet. I also have only ever ordered it at restaurants – this looks like a great version to try at home!

    Yum, yum! Sounds amazing.

    Marjorie says:

    Yum! Those jars are also so lovely. (Or are they glasses?) I’m with Michael, can you disclose where to find them? I’d love to add these to my collection.

    bri says:

    hey you guys, i saw she mentioned on twitter they are from weckjars.com!

    This looks so tasty! Perfect dessert for the summertime 🙂

    Alex from http://www.polkadottedpixels.com

    you should try hibiscus juice it’s seriously the tastiest! my local burrito place does it, yum!

    Tasneem says:

    Have you had Vosges’ blood orange caramel chocolate bar? It has a perfect hint of hibiscus flavor: http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/product/blood_orange_caramel_exotic_candy_bar/exotic_candy_bars

    I have been buying it every time I go to the store lately.

    Kankana says:

    I love the flavor of hibiscus and always store a bottle of hibiscus syrup for cocktails and even tea. This is a stunning dessert and lovely flavor blend!

    Sydney says:

    You can get hibiscus flowers for suuuuuper cheap at Super King in Glassel Park! In Latin American countries it’s called Jamaica…so easy to make agua fresca with it 🙂

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