For a lighter panna cotta, fromage frais replaces the usual cream, and lightly poached rhubarb provides a lovely contrast to the silky texture. The panna cotta can be made a day in advance, which is convenient if you are entertaining.
For the panna cotta
- 3½ sheets of leaf gelatine
- 250ml milk
- 130g caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 vanilla pods (ideally Bourbon), split in half lengthways
- 680g fromage frais, at room temperature
- 6 tiny mint sprigs
For the poached rhubarb
- 80g caster (superfine) sugar
- 150ml cold water
- 180g young, tender rhubarb stems
1For the panna cotta, soak the gelatine in a shallow dish of cold water for 5 minutes. Put the milk, sugar and vanilla pods into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove from the heat. Immediately drain the gelatine, squeeze out excess water, then add to the hot milk, stirring with a whisk to dissolve.
2Put the fromage frais into a food processor or blender. Remove the vanilla pods from the milk and, using the back of a small knife, scrape out the seeds and return them to the milk; discard the pods.
3With the processor or blender on a low speed, slowly pour the hot, vanilla-infused milk onto the fromage frais then, once it is all added, increase the speed to medium and process for 1 minute until smooth. Strain through a fine chinois into a bowl.
4Set the bowl over a larger bowl of iced water to cool the mixture quickly, stirring from time to time. When it is almost cold, divide between 6 panna cotta or dariole moulds, about 8cm diameter and 5cm deep. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.
5For the poached rhubarb, dissolve the sugar in the water in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, peel the rhubarb stems with a swivel peeler, then cut into fairly large julienne and lower them into the boiling sugar syrup. Poach at a low simmer for 30 seconds, then tip the rhubarb and syrup into a bowl. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
6To serve, dip the base of a panna cotta mould into a bowl filled with just-boiled water for 10 seconds. Invert a plate over the mould, then, holding them firmly together, turn over to unmould the panna cotta onto the plate. Repeat with the rest of the moulds.
7Spoon the rhubarb around the panna cotta and pour a little of the syrup over it. Finish each panna cotta with a mint sprig and serve.
IMAGE © LISA LINDER
Want more mouth-watering recipes? Order this wonderful book by clicking the link below!