As it's Fathers Day today, I asked my Dad what I should make for dessert. As he is a die-hard chocolate fan, I was a little surprised when he suggested a panna cotta. Actually, I think his choice was spot-on. Panna cotta is a stunning dessert - smooth, creamy, flecked with vanilla. The brown sugar in this recipe gives just a hint of caramel-like richness.
Another bonus is that I could literally whip this up in minutes in between revising for my final exam, which is tomorrow.
After telling my Dad just how simple and fool-proof panna cotta is to make, I actually messed these up by pouring the fruit compote over the set panna cotta whilst it was still warm. As you can see, it melted the surface of the panna cotta, giving it that mottled look on top. I think it may have been for the best though, as having the fruit mingled in with the base of the panna cotta itself provided a delicious union of light creaminess and slightly sharp, slightly sweet cardamon tinged fruit.
As I oh-so-causally mentioned above, my last exam is tomorrow. Tomorrow! The very idea is alternately filling me with excitement and nervousness. Exams have been pretty much dominating my life for weeks, so having so much time on my hands will feel strange, but hopefully in a good way. I plan to get stuck into some good books, hit the gym as much as possible (believe it or not, I've actually missed working out) and go on an epic pre-summer holidays shopping spree!
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Cardamon Fruit Compote
300ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
2 leaves gelatine
50g soft light brown sugar
200g summer berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc.) - I used frozen berries
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1 leaf gelatine
1 tsp lemon juice
4 cardamon pods
To make the panna cotta's, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and add to a pan with the cream, milk and sugar. Whisk together over a low heat until the mixture is simmering.
Place the gelatine leaves in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Leave for a few minutes until soft, then remove the leaves and squeeze out any excess water. Whisk the softened gelatine leaves into the cream milk until smooth.
Pour the mixture into small ramekins, leaving a little space at the top for the fruit. Once cool, transfer to the fridge for a least 4 hours or overnight.
To make the fruit compote, stir the berries, sugar, and the seeds from the cardamon pods together in a pan over a medium heat, until the fruit is slightly broken down and juicy. Soften the gelatine leaf as described above and stir into the fruit along with the lemon juice. Taste and add more sugar if required.
Leave the fruit until cooled a little, but not set, then spoon it over the chilled panna cotta's. Return to the fridge for another 2 hours or until set.