Panna cotta is one of the great gifts from the Italian pastry kitchen (along with tiramisu), and over the years I have made, and eaten, all sorts of flavours from simple vanilla through to beetroot (the latter wasn’t a good idea, I have to say). When blackberries are out of season use strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
1⁄2 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped out (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
1 x 400g tin condensed milk
6 leaves gelatine (or 1 tbsp
60g caster sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Slowly bring the milk, cream, vanilla bean and scrapings and the condensed milk almost to boiling point, whisking occasionally as it heats up, then turn the heat off and leave for a few minutes.
- Soak the leaf gelatine in very cold water for 5 minutes. Drain it, gently squeezing out excess water, and stir it into the hot cream (if using powdered gelatine, sprinkle it over 2 tbsp cold water and stir till dissolved, then mix into the hot cream).
- Strain the mixture through a sieve (or simply remove the vanilla bean) and pour the mixture into six 200ml dariole moulds.
- Leave to cool to room temperature, then cover tightly and place in the fridge to set for at least 8 hours.
- Put the sugar in a saucepan with the water, place over moderate heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, then without stirring, cook until it colours a light caramel. Turn the heat down, add the blackberries and the balsamic vinegar (be careful as it will create hot steam) and cook until some of the berries collapse into the caramel, mashing a few with a spoon as they cook. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
- To serve, dip each mould into a bowl of hot water for a few seconds, then invert onto the centre of a plate and shake gently to release the panna cotta. Spoon the berries and their juices on top and around.
Recipes are from Eating Well Everyday by Peter Gordon, with photographs by Manja Wachsmuth. Published by Jacqui Small, and available from all good booksellers, RRP £25.