Creamy, fruity, indulgent and glamorous, panna cotta is a fabulous finale to a celebratory dinner (and a wonderful alternative to rich, heavy christmas pud, perhaps?) But given such highfalutin' qualities, it's surprisingly quick and easy to make! To make it even easier, both the panna cotta and the accompanying raspberry sauce can be made up to 24 hours in advance of serving; just chill them both separately until you're ready to assemble and serve.
For the panna cotta:
250ml whole milk
250ml double cream
3 gelatine leaves
1 tsp vanilla essence (or the seeds of 1 vanilla pod)
1 tbsp caster sugar
For the sauce:
175g caster sugar
Optional: splash of cherry liqueur
Fresh mint, icing sugar
- Soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water. Put the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla essence (or seeds) into a saucepan pan and bring to simmering point.
- Take the pan off the heat, squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine leaves and add them to the warm, creamy mixture. Stir until dissolved before dividing the mixture between four ramekins or small bowls and allowing to cool before refrigerating for at least one hour, until set.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce: bring the water, sugar and cherry liqueur (if using) to the boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Add half the raspberries and blend with a hand blender until smooth before passing the sauce through a sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Add the remaining fruit to the sauce and stir gently, without crushing the fresh raspberries. Allow to cool completely.
- Turn each panna cotta out on to individual serving plates (you might need to run a knife around the inside of each ramekin to ensure a smooth transition).
- Spoon the fruit sauce over the top of each panna cotta, encouraging it to dribble down the sides a bit and form a pretty puddle on the plate.
- Garnish each panna cotta with a sprig of fresh mint and dust lightly with icing sugar.