Panna Cotta with Blackberry Compote

panna cotta

Wow, a week has passed and I haven’t updated. My bad. It’s not that I wasn’t cooking, truth be told, I’m actually back in Hong Kong over the holidays and there’s a lot of cooking, eating and catch ups to be had. But this post isn’t about my blogging tardiness, it’s about this delectable panna cotta I made as the finishing touch to a meal I cooked for my friend. Deserts are always I bit of a hard one I find. I tend to always eat a bit of fruit normally, but after an indulgent meal sometimes you crave something a little more. This is a dainty light panna cotta with a sweet yet satisfyingly sharp compote to balance out those flavours. I’ve cheated a bit, in that the panna cotta isn’t set then turned out of a ramekin, but how pretty does this look? Plus, Polpo does it this way, so it can’t be all bad. This makes 3-4 little tumblers worth of pudding.

Panna Cotta with Blackberry Compote:
190 ml full fat milk
200 ml double cream
40 g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
4 g leaf gelatin
1 tbsp of grappa or grape juice
About 125 g of blackberries with extra to serve

Put a heavy based pan onto the stove. Into this, add your milk, double cream,  35 g of caster sugar and the seeds scraped out of your vanilla pod. Just before it all comes to boiling point, remove it from the heat.

Get some icy water into a container and soften your gelatine leaves for about 5 minutes. Squeeze out the water (playing with gelatine at this stage is quite tactile and fun!) and add this to your creamy mixture along with your grappa.

Pour your creamy liquid into a glass bowl over some ice and let it slowly cool. Give it a stir every so often to disperse the vanilla pod seeds. Once the seeds start to suspend themselves in the creaminess, about an hour later, your mixture is ready. Decant into some tumblers and chill them in the fridge. They are even better if left overnight, but I was happy with 8 hours of chilling.

Now make your compote. Put your 125 g worth of blackberries into a large saucepan with around 25 ml of water and the remaining caster sugar. On a very low heat, poach those berries until they soften and start to lose their shape. At this point you want to access how you like your compote. I mashed half of the softened berries and added a tiny bit more sugar and water. I would recommend that you don’t make it too sweet though, because you want something to counter the sweet creaminess of the panna cotta. But you know. Do it to taste.

When you are ready to serve, add a generous helping of compote to your little panna cotta tumblers and add a couple of fresh blackberries for some variation. Yum yum yum. Oh! It’s new year’s eve today as well so I hope you all have a blast partying around the world tonight. Bring on 2013!

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