The intent of my blog is working.
Again, I am trying something I haven’t made before. This time a dessert. To be honest, I don’t make desserts too often. They can look too fiddly, or there are too many instructions and long wait times.
For sure, that is why I have probably avoided making panna cotta. Whilst the desserts look delightful, perfectly moulded with inviting toppings, the thought of unmoulding little desserts has put me off. That I why I encourage you to try this method – one large panna cotta for slicing.
Yes, unmoulding is a nerve racking business and admittedly the stakes are higher if you get this one unmoulding wrong (i.e. you lose the whole dessert) but if you lightly grease the pan, dip the base of the tin into a shallow dish with an inch of boiling water for 8 seconds ONLY, turn onto a flat plate, you will be rewarded with a stunning dessert.
So if you happen to be entertaining this Bank Holiday, want a dessert that is simple to make, delicious and can be made a day or so ahead, why not give this a go?
Note: Contains Pork
- 1 litre double cream
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 6 leaves of fine gelatine*
- Cold water for soaking gelatine
- 175g caster sugar
- 175ml water
- 350g fresh berries
- Heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Add the vanilla pod, split length ways and remove from the heat. Allow to infuse for 30 minutes.
- Lightly oil a 9inch baking tin (or 8 individual cups) with a light oil.
- Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water until softened. Place the leaves in the bowl one at a time so that they do not stick together. Allow leaves to soften.
- Return the saucepan to a low heat, remove the vanilla pods. Add the gelatine, to the pan, having squeezed the excess water.
- Stir the pan mixing in the gelatine.
- Pour the mixture into the greased ban (or individual cups). Allow to cool and then refrigerate until completely set.
- Place the water and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved.
- Add half the berries and then put in a blender and mix. Pass the sauce through a sieve and return to the pan. Simmer further until reduced to a thicker sauce/compote. Stir in the remaining berries and leave to cool.
- Run a sharp knife around the tin of the panna cotta. Dip the base of the tin into a larger pan/dish that has an inch of boiling water at the bottom. Dip for only 8 seconds and turn upside down onto a flat serving plate immediately. Refrigerate a little further if need be. Spoon over the berries initially and then some sauce. Any excess sauce, place in a jug and add when serving.
* For a pork free panna cotta, substitute the gelatine leaves for two packets of gelatine powder (contains beef) and 90ml of cold water. Sprinkle the gelatine over the cold water in a bowl and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the warm panna cotta over the gelatine and stir until completely dissolved. Place the mixture into the prepared tin/cups.
Source: Panna Cotta from David Lebovitz.com (original source ‘Secrets From My Tuscan Kitchen’ by Judy Witts), sauce adapted from Simon Rimmer’s BBC Food Recipes ‘Something For The Weekend’