Creamy panna cotta and sweet strawberries can only make a glorious summertime dessert. And they do, they do! It's been a while since something excited me this much :)
Beautiful things come indeed after a bit of effort. But big part of this effort is just keeping a close eye on quantities and proportions. Hopefully, now that I kind of settled on this recipe, your first try will surely be more successful than mine. The preparation should pose no problems, but keep in mind you'll need quite a lot of refrigeration time, so start early.
The one thing that might compromise this lovely dessert is using too less gelatin. The panna cotta won't set, you won't be able to unmould it and you'll be most certainly very upset. If you're in doubt about the quantity of gelatin you need, just use more.
50g white sugar
300g fresh strawberries
zest from 1 lemon 4g gelatin
Pick out the most handsome strawberries (count 2-3 per serving) and keep them safe. Mash the remaining strawberries into a paste.
In a pan, combine the water and sugar and boil until sugar is dissolved. Let cool. When the syrup has cooled down, drop the mashed strawberries inside and let infuse for 30 minutes.
Pass the liquid through a fine sieve, to get rid of all seeds and pulp. Now add the lemon zest.
Soften the gelatin in a cup of cold water for 5 minutes. Heat the strawberry syrup and add the gelatin. Stir until completely dissolved.
Chose the moulds you're going to use. I prefer flat bottomed ones, but any shape would do just fine. If you don't have moulds, use coffee cups or glasses. Oil them with a neutral oil, like sunflower.
Take the handsome strawberries and cut them in halves. Arrange the pieces at the bottom of every mould. Pour slowly the strawberry jelly on top. It should fill about a quarter of the mould.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Vanilla panna cotta for 6 - 8
400ml full fat liquid cream
50g white sugar
75g cane sugar
1 vanilla bean or 2 tbsp vanilla essence
fresh strawberries to garnish
When your jelly has set (it should be very firm, not wobbly) prepare the panna cotta.
Mix the cream, milk and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Split the vanilla bean lenghtwise and, with the back of a knife, scrap all the seeds in the cream mixture. Add the leftover bean and let stand covered for half an hour.
Fish out the vanilla bean. Soften the gelatin in cold water, reheat the cream mixture and stir in the gelatin.
Let cool to room temperature. This step is very important: if you would pour anything hot on top of the jelly, it will just dissolve and all your hard work would have been in vain.
Last step is to fill your moulds with panna cotta mixture and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. It's a good idea to cover the moulds with cling film, especially if you have garlic lying around in your fridge.
Red wine syrup
1 cup red wine
2 tbsp white sugar
Just before serving, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistence.
Unmould the panna cotta by immersing the moulds briefly in hot water and turn upside down on a plate. Garnish with strawberries and spoonfuls of wine syrup.
If you don't have enough time to prepare this dessert don't just give up: make the panna cotta without the jelly. It's just as delicious.
This recipe makes 0.2kilos/person of pure goodness.