Recipe of the Week: Lemon Panna Cotta!

Of the many food-related jobs that I do working with Chef Dave Martin is my absolute favorite. Known mostly for his appearance on the first season of Bravo’s Top Chef, Dave has taken his “fame” from the show and built a pretty darn good empire for himself. In addition to traveling around the country appearing and cooking at food festivals and events, he is a culinary consultant for restaurants, serves as a brand ambassador for many food products and caters private events. He’s basically a jack of all trades and one of the hardest working men I have ever seen/met.

Ya he’s a great Chef, but he’s an absolutely stellar human being and I am just so lucky and happy that I get the chance to work with him/for him. In the past few weeks I have returned to the kitchen working side by side with him banging out decadent private dinners. I have made everything from lobster rolls, lamb racks, pork tenderloins to panna cottas.  Through him I have gotten my “kitchen groove” back!!!

His “Flavor Quest” recipe vault is unbelievable…. it’s ridiculously comprehensive (many can be found in his two cookbooks here) and features dishes so easy anyone can make or attempt to make them!

One of my favorite recipes of his is a simple Lemon Panna Cotta. When he first asked me to make it I kinda freaked, I had never mad a panna cotta before! What if I mess this up!? After quick instruction that first time, I have now made this dish many times and dare I say perfected it!?

Anyways, Chef Dave’s lemon panna cotta is super simple and is sure to impress any diner you make it for! This dish features lemon extract, but you can play around with whatever flavor you wish!

Lemon Panna Cotta

(yields 12 4 oz ramekins)


  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt

To Make:

  • Activate/bloom gelatin in cold water (pour into bowl and incorporate by stirring/whisking)
  • heat gelatin, cream, half & half, lemon extract, sugar, vanilla bean and bean scrapings to scald (small bubbles will form on sides of pan)
  • remove from heat and blend in sour cream and salt
  • remove vanilla bean pod and throw away
  • pour mixture into ramekins and let rest overnight in refrigerator
  • garnish with mint sprigs, berries, or a dollop of whipped cream!
  • Enjoy!

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Filed under McKenzie Makes

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