Love is in the air. I have fallen in love with this dessert for St Valentine’s Day.
What I love about the Panna cotta is it’s so simple. It’s the kind of dessert you can rattle out when in a rush and don’t have time to think of anything over the top or fancy. It does the job. Once you have the basic recipe you can make all sorts of flavour combinations – even savoury.
Informal? Serve them in funky little yogurt pots or shot glasses for parties with some fruit or purée dolloped on top. Something more formal? Pour into silicone moulds and turn them out on serving plates surrounded with a fruit purée and be creative on decor. For a touch of Parisian elegance, mes amis, add a rose macaron or two, serve with a glass of bubbly and feel the toes curl…
Talking of bubbles, I needed a flute of pink Champagne just for the sake of a romantic shot. In the end, the bottle and stem of the flute are barely visible. I tried to get the Champagne in view but the angle was wrong; drank some more to see if a lower level would work. No use. Drank the whole lot and it still didn’t show. In fact, there’s maybe a bit of camera shake? Never mind. It was deliciously fun!
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
3 gelatine leaves @ 2g each
400ml single cream (min 30% fat)
few drops of red colouring
80g white cooking chocolate
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 cups cherries, pitted
2 tbsp water
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Seeds from 2 cardamom pods
1. Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.
2. Heat together the cream, rosewater*, colouring and sugar in a saucepan and gradually melt in the white chocolate. Stir until smooth.
(* Rosewater: I normally use half litre bottles of light rosewater from North Africa that I get in France. When I was in Scotland this week I could only find small 60ml bottles, which was so much more concentrated. I would suggest the smaller the bottle, the smaller the dose needed. Ideally it should be water with essence of rose no more than about 6%)
3. Squeeze in the gelatine and stir to dissolve into the warm cream.
4. Pour into non-stick silicone moulds. Here I used briochette moulds but you could use muffin moulds.
5. Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
6. Meanwhile, make the coulis: place the cherries in a saucepan with water (no need for water if your cherries are frozen since not in season), sugar, lemon juice and the cardamom seeds.
7. Cook for about 10 minutes until the cherries are soft. Transfer to a blender and blitz to a smooth sauce.
8. When ready to serve, run the underside of the moulds briefly under hot water then carefully turn them out directly on to the serving plates and pour around the coulis.
Et voilà !
This dessert recipe was featured as a Guest Post for St. Valentine’s on Kate’s blog at Diethood.com