Dear Reader, have you ever been afraid of your fridge? A few months ago I was terrified of opening my fridge as it contained within its four chilled walls 6-7 litres of jiggling jelly. It was a distinctly wobbly reminder of my recent jelly escapades where I had made an underwater jelly cake. Mr NQN had steadfastly refused to commit to consuming any more jelly after hoovering through three litres of the stuff. I didn't want to give him PTSD of jelly but I did have a recipe I wanted to try - a cousin of jelly dare I say: the panna cotta. I didn't know if he would reject it under the umbrella of "too much wobbliness in one year" or whether he would give this a go.
It was a little while back when I was invited to a special lunch organised by Nespresso to launch their new Kazaa limited edition blend where Masterchef season one contestant and now caterer Justine Schofield cooked us a coffee themed meal. There was a tender venison fillet with a coffee and red wine sauce and dessert, a vanilla and honey panna cotta with a coffee caramel sauce. And I was very happy to see among the goodie bag delights was Justine's recipe for the vanilla and honey panna cotta.
I found that the recipe quantity of four gelatine leaves was too strong-perhaps she meant gold gelatine leaves but I had titanium so I've given the recipe with an adjustment for that desirable wobbly booby effect.
The panna cotta is creamy with a lovely sweetness from honey and a lovely crunch from the toffee. It is also one of the most perfect dinner party recipes as it can all be done ahead of time with a very easy assembly just before it needs to be served. Was Mr NQN smitten? Well if smitten involves hoovering up every serve of it then yes. It was as if his earlier magic trick of magically hoovering up jelly had never occurred. Does that mean with a new year, I had a new jelly quota? ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, what's the dish that you made the most last year?
Vanilla and Honey Panna Cotta with Coffee Caramel Sauce
Adapted from recipe by Justine Schofield
4 tablespoons runny honey
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
2 titanium gelatine leaves
Coffee and Caramel sauce
220g caster sugar
Coffee and Almond Brittle
3/4 cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 capsule of Nespresso coffee grounds
You will also need 6x 125ml/4 fl oz. molds lightly oiled
Step 1 - Make the brittle: place the almonds in a dry pan on medium heat. Swirl them in the pan for 3 minutes or until they start to get some colour. Line a baking tray with baking paper and scatter the toasted almonds.
Step 2 - Make the toffee for the brittle by adding the sugar and water into a small saucepan over a moderate heat. Let the sugar dissolve and bring to the boil, simmering until it starts to turn golden brown. Tip over the almonds ensuring that it spreads over the almonds while it is liquid as it will set quickly. Take a few pinches of the Nespresso coffee capsule (or you could use any finely ground coffee) and sprinkle over the top. Cool completely in a dry area and once hard, break into some larger pieces. Place the rest in a food processor or in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin to get little crumbs of toffee.
Step 3 - Make the panna cotta. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a few minutes until soft. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, heat the cream, milk, honey and vanilla bean seeds until heated through but not boiling. Remove from heat and squeeze gelatine to get rid of excess water and stir in thoroughly combining. Pour into the oiled molds and once cool, place in the fridge to set for about 1-2 hours.
Step 4 - Make the coffee sauce. Heat the sugar in a saucepan until dark golden in colour. Remove from the heat and add the cream, coffee and butter. Whisk well until all the ingredients have come together. Place in the fridge to cool.
Step 5 - When ready to serve, unmold the panna cotta onto a place, swirl some coffee caramel sauce around it and then sprinkle over with some praline brittle and place a shard on top.