In my opinion the only people who know how to make desserts better than the french- are the italian. And boy do they know how to make them. Here’s a recipe for my all-time-favourite, panna cotta, with what I call a ”vanilla hat”. I serve it with some crunchy catuccini cookies and a rhubarb sorbet.. so I suppose I could call it my ”italian dessert trio”. Anyways, however you call it – it’s delicious and worth trying out. It’s really not difficult, and most of the work can be done a day ahead!
for the sorbet:
2 stalks of rhubarb- washed and cut into small chunks
100g of sugar
juice of one lemon
50ml of water
for the panna cotta:
250ml of heavy cream
250ml of full fat milk
1/2 tsp of vanilla beans
50g of sugar
pinch of salt
4 leaves of gelatine, soaked in cold water for 10 min
for the garnish: 7-8 strawberries per person
1 tbsp of powdered sugar
1 tbsp of crema di balsamico or balsamic vinegar
8 cantuccini cookies
4 small basil leaves.
Start off by making the sorbet. It’s really easy. Just place your rhubarb,sugar,water and lemon juice in the pan and let it come to a boil. The rhubarb will loose a lot of moisture, so don’t be alarmed. Once it’s boiling,cook until the rhubarb completely falls apart. the smaller the chunks, the quicker it will happen. After 15 min or fast boil, the mixture should be pulpy and syrupy,sticky, and the rhubarb should be jammy in consistency & soft. When that happens, turn the heat off and let it cool slightly, before putting it into food processor and blitzing it until smooth. Put the mixture into a freezer-safe container and let it cool completely- moving it every hour or so. When it starts to freeze, blitz it every 2-3hours until you get a sorbet.
for the panna cotta- just bring your cream,milk and sugar to a boil with vanilla beans.You can also add extra vanilla or almond extract if you wanted to. Once the mixture has come to a boil, turn it off , take your gelatine, squeeze out the excess water and throw them into the hot cream-milk mixture. mix well, so the gelatine disolves quickly. Let the mixture cool slightly, before pouring into lightly oiled forms/molds or cups. Place in the fridge,and once the mix is completely cold, cover with cling film and let it stand over night. The vanilla will naturally fall to the bottom, flavouring the mix through, and creating a ”hat” on top of the turned out panna cotta. 😉
When you’re ready to serve, cut your strawberries into chunks, add sugar and crema di balsamico. mix well. Turn your panna cottas out, by shaking them out onto your hand, you can use a small knife if they’re stuck to gently ease them out.
Place the pana cotta on the far left of the plate and arrange the strawberries around it. Put cantuccini cookies in the middle, and put the sorbet into a shot glass or a separate ,small glass or bowl. You can also use an ice cream scoop to shape it and place it directly onto the plate. decorate with a smally basil leaf.