Vanilla Bean & Orange Blossom Panna Cotta

Vanilla Bean & Orange Blossom Panna Cotta
With Champagne Berry Sauce

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Panna Cotta, a surprisingly simple dessert to make, is, possibly, not so simple to perfect.

With the basic recipe involving heating, and then refrigerating a mixture of sugar, gelatin, milk and cream, you’d think you would be hard pressed to go wrong.

But with such a simple, delicate dessert, the perfection of this dish lies in the flavour and texture alone.

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Now, getting this dessert right does, to a degree, come down to taste preferences. Too creamy, too sweet, we all have different views on this, but I served this recipe at a dinner party and 4 out of 5 guests loved it.

Although I’m going to choose to ignore the fifth person, who claims she doesn’t like any desserts, and go with 4 out of 4.

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With the perfect amount of wobble, a creaminess that was almost too much, and the just sweet enough champagne berry sauce to balance it all out, I was pretty pleased with this dessert myself.

Vanilla Bean & Orange Blossom Panna Cotta

Serves: 6, approximately 180ml each

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Ingredients

600ml double cream
260ml whole milk
150g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
5 (6g – 8g) gelatin leaves
1 Tbsp orange blossom water

Method

Set the gelatin leaves to soak in a bowl of cold water.
Split the vanilla pod, then place it in a saucepan along with the milk, cream and sugar.

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Heat gently until sugar has dissolved, allowing the mixture to simmer just slightly, then remove it from the heat.
Squeeze out the gelatin leaves and stir them into the warm cream mixture until dissolved.

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Pour the mixture through a sieve, then add in the orange blossom water.
Grease your ramekins, or teacups in my case, with a little flavourless oil – I used rice bran oil – then divide the mixture between the ramekins and refrigerate overnight.

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Tip: Dip the base of the ramekins into hot water to help loosen them before turning out onto a plate – but not too hot, and not for too long, or your panna cotta will melt!

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Champagne Berry Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

80g blueberries
300g strawberries
1/2 orange, juice only
1.5 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp water
150ml champagne or other sparkling wine

Method

Set aside around 30 blueberries and 18 small strawberries, then slice the remaining berries and place in a saucepan with the sugar, orange juice and water.

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Simmer covered until the berries have softened enough to push through a sieve.

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Discard the pulp, and place the berry sauce back onto the heat. Add the whole berries, along with the champagne, cover, and bring to boil.

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Remove the lid and reduce the mixture until you’ve reached desired taste and consistency – the more you reduce the sauce, the sweeter it will be, and the less alcohol you will taste.
Remove the whole berries and pour the sauce into a serving jug. Allow to cool before serving.

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Serve each panna cotta with a drizzle of sauce and a scattering of berries.

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Enjoy… x

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