Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert of silky, sweetened cream set with gelatin, is all at once simple, classic and elegant.  It is, at its best, subtle, not overly sweet, and the perfect way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Panna cotta comes together quickly and can be molded in any type of vessels you choose -- from ramekins to demitasse, martini glasses to mason jars.  I like to compliment my panna cotta with a thin layer of gelée -- a gelatin stabilized glaze made from fresh fruit.  Apricots are in season right now, and are bursting with summer sweetness, so I chose to do an apricot gelée.  You can use my recipe with any type of fruit you'd like.  
Here are some photos of panna cottas I've made in the past with a variety of gelées and vessels:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Honey Gelée and Bee Pollen
Lemon Panna Cotta, no gelée
Meyer-Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gelee

I like to decorate my desserts with edible flowers, especially in summer and springtime. My theme fo…

DIY Handmade Egg-Shaped Soaps, Using Plastic Easter Eggs

I created this project and featured it as a guest post many moons ago. Today, I'm delighted to be sharing this simple and versatile DIY project with my readers at Rook No. 17.

Plastic eggs -- they're great for filling with sweets and goodies for the annual Easter egg hunt. But afterward you're left with a bunch of brightly colored plastic eggs that don't exactly lend themselves to sublime home decor.  However, with one simple modification, you can transform those plastic eggs into poured soap molds to create elegant egg-shaped soaps that look like they came right out of a chic little French country boutique.

With this simple and versatile DIY project you can design custom soaps by adding your choice of colors, scents, and natural elements (mine are made with dried Lavender and essential oil). The egg-shaped soaps make a lovely gift when packaged in an upcycled egg carton.  

DIY: Egg-Shaped Soaps 

makes 1 dozen


For the soaps:
  • 2 pounds Pour & Mold Soap (available in most craft stores and online)
  • Optional:  Essential Oil for scent, fresh herbs or flowers for exfoliation
  • Small funnel* (typically available at craft stores)
  • Drill with a 7/32 bit and a 11/32 bit
  • Piece of scrap wood
  • Plastic Easter Eggs
  • Duct Tape & scissors
  • Bamboo skewer
  • Craft Knife

For packaging:
  • Cardboard Egg Carton
  • Acrylic craft paint & paint brush

how to make egg shaped soaps with plastic eggs

Note: For my eggs, I made LAVENDER soap by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil and a few teaspoons of real dried lavender to the melted soap. You can add any scent or color to the soap once it’s melted. If adding dried herbs, flowers or natural exfoliants, be sure to get a soap specially formulated for “suspension”, so the add-ins don’t sink to the bottom. For half of my “eggs” I ground the lavender in a spice mill to break it into finer pieces. When mixed in the melted soap, the milled lavender added a subtle green tone.

how to make egg shaped soaps with plastic eggs

Step 1: Fit your drill with the smaller 7/32 bit. Drill a hole through the center of the bottom of the bottom-piece of the egg. Use a scrap piece of wood beneath the egg to protect your work surface.
how to make egg shaped soaps with plastic eggs

Step 2: Now enlarge the hole by redrilling with the larger bit.

how to make egg shaped soaps with plastic eggs

Step 3: With your scissors, cut small pieces of duct tape and use them to cover the holes on the pointy-end of the egg. Use another small piece to help hold the two sides of the egg together. I learned the hard way that this step is necessary — the egg opened up and hot soap went everywhere!

how to make egg shaped soaps with plastic eggs

Step 4: Chop the soap base into small pieces with a kitchen knife and melt according to manufacturers instructions. For mine, I microwaved a cup at a time, in a glass measuring cup, for 30 seconds, then at 10 second intervals until the soap was melted (this fills 2-3 eggs). Stir in any desired color, scent, or exfoliants.
how to make egg shaped soaps with plastic eggs
*I couldn't find my mini funnel, so I altered a regular kitchen funnel by making a tapered extension out of duct tape.  It worked like a charm.

Step 5: Set the prepared plastic eggs in a carton or egg cups to stabilize, hole side up. Place funnel in the hole of one egg. Gently pour in melted soap. If funnel clogs, use the bamboo skewers to help move things along. When soap has reached the top, gently tap the bottom of the plastic egg on a hard surface (with a finger over the hole). This will help the soap settle and help release air bubbles. Top off with more soap. Repeat with remaining eggs. 

how to make egg shaped soaps with plastic eggs

Step 6: Let eggs set for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, remove the piece of tape holding the two sides together, and open egg. You may need to give the egg a gentle squeeze. When the eggs come out, they may have a slight lip near the center. You can trim this away carefully with a craft knife. You can also use your fingers to buff out any imperfections. It will not adversely affect the sheen of the finished egg.

how to make egg shaped soaps with plastic eggs

Step 7: Package — For my upcycled packaging, I cut a cardboard egg carton in half and painted the inside and outside of the lid with DecoArt Americana French Blue acrylic paint. When dry, I filled the carton with little bunches of paper shred and then placed the soap eggs inside. Lastly, I found a beautiful vintage label from The Graphics Fairy, made some modifications, printed it on handmade paper and glued it to the top of the carton. 

how to make egg shaped soaps with plastic eggs

You can download my version of the label by clicking on the image:

vintage antique lavender soap label

how to make egg shaped soaps with plastic eggs

I also packaged some of my eggs individually.  I used small grapevine wreaths from the craft store as a nest.  I filled them with paper shred, then added the egg.  The whole bundle was tied up in tulle.

This post has been linked-up with:
Easter week @ A Girl & a Glue Gun

Popular posts from this blog

Sophisticated Vintage Style in the 21st Century -- A Shabby Apple Giveaway!

CAMP CUPCAKE: An Elmer's Kids Craft Camp Party + Giveaway

Calling all Creatives: Win an Elmer's Looks for Less Prize Pack