Friday, 7 June 2013

panna cotta with raspberry and thyme

Sometimes food is better in single serves - do you agree? 

When I have to share food I often get a case of food anxiety. I feel like I have to eat really quickly if I'm going to get my fair share and end up stressed. I dread the moment when you sit down for dinner in a restaurant and someone in your party says "how about we get a few plates to share?"

No, no, no. I want my own meal, on my own plate, so that I can eat in my own weirdly organised way (I have this thing about piling food neatly on the back of my fork which can be ... time consuming). Just let me be! Okay, the truth is I don't always feel this way. There is definitely something lovely about having a long table of old friends sharing a classic family style feast - but let's just make sure we each have our own plate, why don't we?  

Phew. Lucky for freaks like me this particular dessert is best made in single serves, that way you'll have the best chance of having a panna cotta that will hold its shape. Or you can be lazy, like me, and not even bother turning it out - just eat it right out of the mould. I served these at my mother's 50th birthday and they went down a treat. 

Spiked with real vanilla bean and covered in tangy, herbed raspberries, this panna cotta is easy to love and very easy to make! 

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta + Raspberry and Thyme
1 1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
2 1/2 tsp gelatine powder
2 Tbs boiling water
2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme

1. Dissolve the gelatine in the boiling water and leave to the side. 
2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine the cream and the milk and place over a low heat and slowly bring to the boil. 

3. While it is heating, use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean down the centre and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the bean to the milk mixture.

4. Once boiling, remove the saucepan from the heat and scoop out the vanilla bean.

5. After about 10 minutes of resting, add the sugar and return to a low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.

6. Remove from the heat and pour in the gelatine mixture. Stir to combine.

7. You've got three cups of panna cotta mixture so it's up to you how you want to set it. I'd recommend six 1/2 cup ramekins. If you want to turn them out once they've set you should lightly oil the mould - just to be safe. If you happen to be using plastic cups, like I have, don't pour the hot, hot mixture straight into the mould... let it cool for a little while. Otherwise you'll end up with a shrivelled up cup and mixture that tastes like plastic (ugh.) but once it's cooled you can see the specks of vanilla seeds.

8. Place them in the fridge to set for about four hours. If you've used larger moulds you'll need to refrigerate them for longer.

9. Just before serving, strip the thyme sprigs and toss the leaves through the raspberries. If you want to mix it up with some different herbs feel free to try some others - but the must be fresh. I haven't tried it, but I have a feeling basil would be a nice surprise.

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  1. Wow! This looks great! Maybe I'll try it this weekend! Although You're supposed to eat panna cotta with raspberries, the basil-idea made me think of strawberries. They taste really nice together! Thanks for the receipe!

  2. This is exactly how I feel when it comes to shared meals. It's a genuine anxiety.