Rose Panna Cotta


Rose Panna Cotta

Grace with Thorns

Pink Roses

“He’s got a garden laid out with spring water running through it, and he’s set a place apart for flowers, roses and the like, and some of the bushes are coming clear from Boston.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck


The fourth Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers Open House was a day spent immersed in vivid color framed by every hue of green. The thriving flower industry of Santa Cruz County was almost lost to imported flowers in the1990’s and has made an extraordinary comeback. Consumers are purchasing locally grown flowers in a trend that mirrors the “farm to table” food trend. A highlight of the day was meeting Debra Prinzing, author of Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet. Her demonstration made flower arranging seem effortless. Debra remarked that in addition to supporting the local economy, locally grown flowers arrive to market sooner and will last longer. I was surprised to learn that floral foam contains formaldehyde and was excited to hear that my vintage floral frogs are back in style!

Roses in Bloom

There were many types of flowers and herbs at the annual Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers Open House but the roses at California Pajarosa Floral were my favorite. I disappeared into the self guided tour, lost in color, shadow and light. Once I started taking photos I couldn’t stop. There were so many roses in every color and shape; it was impossible to pick a favorite. I finally understood why my mother-in-law adored roses. Clumped in dirt, studded with thorns, and yet a rose in bloom is near perfection; a reflection of life itself. We rush past the mundane and climb across the sharp edges that poke and scratch to reach beauty in our lives. Such a deliberate creation of beauty is an act of grace in a thorn filled world.

More Roses in Bloom

Making rose syrup


The greenhouse tour was inspiration to try new recipes from Cooking with Flowers. The section in the back of the book, The Basics: Simple Reasons for Stocking Up, holds a myriad of recipes and techniques for preserving flowers in sugars, syrups, jams, candy and more. If you have any interest in cooking or baking with edible flowers I highly recommend this informative book. I made candied flowers, flower syrup and flower sugar with the edible flowers that I purchased from Jacobs Farm during the greenhouse tour. My results were mixed. Candied flowers are easiest with single petals. Each petal is brushed with a light coating of egg white and coated in superfine sugar before drying. When I cut off the the green base (sepal) of the pansies the flower came apart. My miniature roses weren’t highly scented so I added rose water to my flower syrup and a small amount of food coloring to achieve a light pick color. Making flower sugar was easy. Just whirl petals in the food processor with sugar.

I used Ina’s Garten’s recipe from “Barefoot Contessa at Home” for the Panna Cotta. The recipe in her cookbook doubles this online version of the Panna Cotta. I omitted the vanilla and added 1 teaspoon of rose water. The individual Panna Cotta’s are garnished with candied and fresh roses and can be topped with pink rose syrup for a sweet finish. Fabulous little desserts to celebrate grace with thorns.

Making sugared roses

Miniature roses

Rose Panna Cotta

This entry was posted in Baking, Candies and Creams, Creating, Floral Arrangements and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Rose Panna Cotta

  1. Tiffany says:

    This post had me grinning from beginning to end… and reminded me of a scene from Like Water for Chocolate! Absolutely beautiful!

  2. Debra says:

    Hi Deb, it was so nice to meet you and your husband when I was down in Watsonville at Pajarosa Roses – and wow, did you get some gorgeous images for this story!
    I love “Cooking with Flowers,” and in fact, I brought it with me to last weekend’s flower events as a thank-you gift to our event manager Kathleen Williford.
    We’ll have to get you in on the festivities next year!
    best, Debra

  3. Wow!!! Breathtaking pictures, divine panna cotta…

  4. Beautiful flower inspiration!

  5. Such a stunning dessert! Your panna cotta looks so silky and luscious!

  6. Really gorgeous, both the images and the twist on Ina’s recipe.

  7. Carol Sacks says:

    Lovely photos and your rose panna cotta is beautiful! I’m always inspired by your posts, Deb.

  8. Cathy says:

    So beautifully presented! The roses are so lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I love anything and everything rosey. This panna cotta is so luscious with lovely layers of decadence 🙂

  10. Patty says:

    Beautiful! I think I can smell the roses-the pictures are so lovely 😉
    I like the idea of cooking with roses and, of course, panna cotta is so creamy and delicious, perfect with rose flavor! Sounds like a fun day filled with flowers and creativity, I would have loved it-thanks for sharing your adventure, pictures and recipe 😉

  11. @yumivore says:

    another beautiful and luscious (as well as fragrant) dessert dished up Deb! the candied flowers are inspiring; a wonderful way to celebrate summer

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the tasty comment Orly! I dished up the Panna Cotta in small servings; a few delicious bites are
      complete delight!

  12. Looks truly beautiful! I love the colors..

  13. That first picture is perfect to showcase this post Deb! I adore panna cotta and white roses, so I kinda want to dig my spoon into one of your glasses. Or not, because they look so adorable! It´s nice to hear that the local flower growers are back in business.

  14. Valentina says:

    Simply stunning!

  15. Ooooh…. these look superb! Makes you want to have your own greenhouse!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the tasty comment Viviane! I imagine there is a bit of learning involved with growing those beautiful roses!

  16. Ashley says:

    I love these photos of all the beautiful flowers – so pretty! I’ve never tried using rose water, but have started to see more and more recipes pop up with it – I’m intrigued!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the lovely comment Ashley! Rose water will add a subtle floral flavor to cooking, but a little is all that is needed!

  17. Gifted. Gorgeous. Deb. you amaze me. The turquoise saucer with the petals and flowers. Amazing. The panna cotta? I want me some. Now!!

    Life is full of inspiration and those that live it to the fullest candy rose petals and make panna cotta! That would be you!!

  18. jennifer says:

    Truly spectacular–one of my very favorite of your posts to date!

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