The warm and bright Summer days are here. Hazy sunny mornings and long warm evenings mean we can enjoy eating and entertaining outside for longer. We all love desserts but in this hot weather they need to be light and fresh. This is why I love Panna Cotta. It has the creaminess and luxuriousness of a comforting dessert but it is light in texture. Topped with strawberries – how can you go wrong? ;)
- 3 gelatine leaves
- 450ml double cream
- 200ml whole milk
- 150g white caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 400g strawberries
- 100ml of champagne or sparkling white wine
- handful of blueberries
- springs of fresh mint
- Add the gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water to soften, this will take about 5 minutes or so, so whilst this is softening, let’s make the panna cotta.
- Pour the cream, milk and 100g of white caster sugar into a pan, split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife or a teaspoon and add the seeds and also the now empty pod to the cream, milk and sugar.
- Heat gently until hot, but do not let it boil. Remove the gelatine leaves from the water, gently squeeze to remove any excess liquid then add the leaves one at a time to the hot cream. Stir until dissolved. Leave to stand for 20-30 minutes until cooled by which time the vanilla pods should be suspended in the liquid. Strain the mixture through a sieve into 4-6 serving glasses (depending on how much you want in each glass!), then chill for four hours (if the weather is very warm, you may need to chill for 5 hours).
- Add the strawberries, the last 50g of white caster sugar and the champagne to a pan and gentle simmer (do not boil!) until strawberries start to break down and sugar dissolves. With the back of a wooden spoon gently mash the strawberries. Once strawberries are slightly mashed and warmed through, leave to cool and then chill until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, add a generous topping of the chilled strawberry mix to each panna cotta, sprinkle on a few blueberries for an extra burst of freshness and decorate with a sprig of fresh mint. Enjoy!