Literally panna cotta

This is ridiculously simple and I feel a bit of a fraud offering it up as a “recipe”. But one of my best friends has never ordered panna cotta in a restaurant in the last five years, and the reason given is: “because it won’t be as good as yours”. High praise indeed!

Except this isn’t really, truly a classic Panna Cotta. There is no gelatine in it. Instead you just cook the cream for much, much longer until it is thick enough to semi-set when chilled. “Panna cotta” is just Italian for “cooked cream” and so really this recipe is more panna cotta than a proper Panna Cotta is! The result is indulgently rich, quite close to white chocolate parfait, and really needs to be served with a tangy coulis of some kind to cut the power of the cream.

Oh! And before I scribble it down, I have to say this isn’t my recipe. I found it years ago on the old website of Mr Underhills, Shaun Hill’s lovely restaurant in Ludlow. That website has long gone and so I can’t link back to the original.

Rich panna cotta (serves 2)

284ml double cream
1 level dessert spoon caster sugar
½ vanilla pod, split
  1. Pour the cream in a small pan, with the vanilla pod and sugar. Bring to a simmer
  2. Simmer for 15-25 minutes, basically until the cream has reduced by about a third (tip: keep the cream carton and you can pour it in to see how much it has reduced)
  3. Pour into little cups or ramekins, stick in the fridge to chill

Seeeeeeee? Too easy. Just increase the cream, sugar and vanilla if you want to make more. As I say, you really need to top this with a coulis; two handfuls of raspberries, a squirt of lemon juice and a spoonful of sugar, simmer for 5 minutes then pass through a sieve – that’ll do it.

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