Panna cotta is possibly the most delicate of all desserts, an extremely fragile mound of cream and milk, occasionally dusted with vanilla, and set with the merest amount of gelatine to just hold its form.
The main ingredient is of course cream, so don’t use anything less than the best, a good organic double cream is my first choice, this provides the principal flavour and texture. I also like to use full-fat milk and a small amount of buttermilk to give it a slightly, lighter sour note. You need just a little sugar, as it’s accompanied with a sweet rosehip coulis, so the balance is just right. I’ve omitted the vanilla in this recipe, after all, it’s not a custard however feel free to add it, if you wish.
As September approaches each year I scan the hedgerows for ripe rosehips to forage. Rosehips are the fruit of the dog rose. They are incredibly high in antioxidants, carotenoids and vitamins C and E. They have a delicate, floral flavour that’s mildly sweet with a distinct tart aftertaste. A perfect pairing with a creamy dessert such as panna cotta.
Serve with a little cookie for texture and you have the most delicious conclusion to a meal.
Panna cotta with Rosehip Coulis
- 4 moulds, cups or ramekins
- 2 x 2g gelatine leaves
- 260 ml double cream
- 80-90 g caster sugar
- 125 ml full-fat milk
- 75 ml buttermilk you can use natural kefir as an alternative
- 60 g rosehips
- 85 g caster sugar
- 1 ½ Tbls lemon juice
- Begin with the rosehip coulis. Wash the hips then top and tail with a sharp knife. Cut them in half lengthways and remove the seeds by scraping with a teaspoon, including the fine hairs. Place in a small saucepan and add 180ml of water, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and particially cover with a lid. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the hips are soft.
- Remove one third of the hips and a 2-3 tablespoons of the liquid. Place into a fine sieve over the saucepan with the remaining cooked hips. Mash and push them through the sieve with a spoon. Discard what is left.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice and place back on the hob and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the syrup thickens. Remove and cool. Place into a jam jar and pop it into the fridge until its needed.
- Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water. Pour the cream into a saucepan, add 80g of the sugar and heat gently, stirring, until it's dissolved. Bring just to a simmer, and then remove from the heat.
- Squeeze out the gelatine and then stir it into the hot cream mixture to dissolve. Pour it through a sieve into a clean bowl and stir in the milk and buttermilk. Taste, add a little more sugar if you like it sweeter.
- Have four moulds, cups or ramekins ready and pour the mixture between them. Cool and then refrigerate for at least 5 hours or better still overnight.
- To turn out, put the moulds briefly in boiling water and then invert on to plates. Serve with the roseship coulis.
- If you have difficulty in finding buttermilk you can use kefir.
- Add a few drops of rose water to the cream for an extra floral twist.
- Lemon thyme infused in the cream is also delicious and slightly earthy.