Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Ginger Brittle and Pear and Ginger Compote

I was reading the Guardian and saw Felicity Cloakes article on panna cotta, so I thought I'd make my own. The basic formula for panna cotta is 3 gelatine leaves to 1 1/4 & 1/3 cups or 500 ml of liquid to which you can flavor with pretty much anything. I use gelatine leaves because they're so much easier than the powdered form. All you have to do is soak them for 2 minutes and then they're ready to dissolve. I also had a fridge brimming with pairs (think bottom 2 shelves) and panna cotta with pear compote was born. I've added the brittle for crunch but you can't taste the almonds, just the ginger and caramel - which is the idea. If you have compote left it freezes well and its also good on muesli and yoghurt.

For the panna cotta:
1/3 & 1/4 cups or 200 ml cream
1 1/4 cups or 300 ml milk
3 gelatine leaves
1 vanilla pod
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ginger brittle:
50g or 1/4 cup caster sugar
30g or 1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 tsp ground ginger

For the pear compote:
5 pears
 1/4 cup or 50g chopped crystallized ginger

1. Soak the gelatine leaves in water and set aside. Put the cream and milk in a saucepan with the vanilla seeds and the pod and heat until hand-hot then stir in the gelatine leaves (discarding the water) until dissolved. Leave to cool while the vanilla infuses. Once cool, strain  the milk mixture into a jug and fill 4 molds. Chill in the fridge for 5 hours or until set.

2. Peel, core and halve the pears then scatter them with the ginger. Roast them in the oven - as hot as you can get it - in a roasting tin covered in foil until the pears are tender and the tray is covered in their sweet sticky juice. Keeping the stem ginger in, mash them with a potato mash or if you like it smooth remove half the ginger and blend in a food processor.

3. For the ginger brittle put the sugar into a pan until it caramelizes and goes golden brown, now stir in the almonds and ground ginger and pour onto and greased baking tray to cool. Once cool, place in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin until they're in smallish crumbs.

4. Plate up by unmoulding the panna cottas and upturning them on a plate. Spoon on the compote and finally sprinkle on the brittle.

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