Thursday, 15 December 2011


In a previous posting I mentioned that I took a cookery course to make three different desserts and this is the recipe for panna cotta with almond crumble and Clementine. I am not a big fan of desserts and so haven't made many and in fact over the years I have become nervous making them due to the lack of practice. But, If I do have dessert in a restaurant one of my favourites is a plain panna cotta; the tasty vanilla flavour in that soft white cream is delicious. So, when my friend Lyd and I decided to do the dessert course it was the panna cotta that decided it for me.

This recipe is for 6 people, as that was the amount of people on the course. I don't mind making too many as I'll have four and my partner can have two, if he so wishes. If not it’s more for me so no complaints!

This recipe leaves the panna cotta in the ramekins, but if you wish to place the panna cotta onto a plate a little tip our chef told us, was to put some cling film in the bottom of each ramekin and then pour in the liquid and then place in the fridge. When it's firm it's easier to take out of the ramekin as all you do is gently pull on the film.

Unfortunately there is no healthy version for this dish, so it needs to be full fat cream. This is because half fat doesn't have the flavour and also doesn't set as well. Also if you’re using vanilla seeds then they will sink to the bottom. So next time you have panna cotta in a restaurant and you can't see any seeds they have skimped on the ingredients and used vanilla essence. What ever you do, do not use vanilla flavour, it's cheap for a reason and doesn't taste as nice. Always use vanilla extract.

For the panna cotta

2g gelatine leaves (3 whole)
600ml double cream (must be full fat)
1 vanilla pod
70g caster sugar
8 Clementine (or just use any citrus orange)

For the crumble

50g plain flour
50g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
50 unsalted butter

Place the gelatine into a bowl of cold water.

Put 200ml of the double cream into a pan. Using the back of the knife drag it down the vanilla pod to squash it. Run the knife down the pod to cut, trying not to cut fully through to the other side, then drag the back of the knife down the cut pod to drag out the seeds. Add to the pan.

Bring the cream to the boil, ensuring you stir constantly and keeping a eye on it so it doesn't boil over. Once the cream starts to boil and rise in the pan, turn off the cooker and remove from the heat.

Take the gelatine from the water and squeeze out when excess. Once squeezed add it to the cream and then add the other 400ml of cream and stir for a few minutes.

Pour the mixture into six ramekins and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
Whilst the liquid is in the fridge preheat the oven to 200c. Place the unsalted butter, ground almonds, plain flour and caster sugar into a bowl. Gently rub the mixture bewteen your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and transfer to the oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

When you’re ready to put everything together, remove the skin off the Clementine and divide into segments. Take the panna cotta out of the fridge and place the Clementine segments into the ramekin, then place some of the almond crumble on the top. Then serve and enjoy......

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