After an Italian evening of antipasto and pizzas, I have wanted to have an Italian dessert ready for when the sugar rush was needed. I had a look through a few of my cookbooks and was mostly looking for something quite easy but still tied in with the rest of the evening, and along came Donna Hay. I love Donna’s cookbooks! Her food styling is amazing and she makes something so simple look spectacular. Donna’s original recipe was for peaches but I had none handy so I ended up with strawberries instead and I think it actually worked a lot better for me as I could live without peaches.
I also used the freezer instead of setting it in the fridge overnight as I was running out of time and decided to do it about an hour before everyone arrived.
For a first attempt at panna cotta, I’m actually pretty proud of myself and although it could have been a little more wobbly (although one of the girls commented that “too wobbly is freaky”), I was happy with the flavours and texture. Even Stud liked it and he isn’t a big dessert fan! Give him an iced lolly (that’s iceblock to the Aussies) any day and he is a happy man.
This recipe was adapted from Donna Hay Modern Classics Volume 2.
Strawberry and Vanilla Panna Cotta
For the strawberry jelly
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 punnet strawberries hulled and sliced in half lengthways
1 tbsp powdered gelatine
For the panna cotta
2 tbsp powdered gelatine
1/3 cup water
3 3/4 cups cream
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Place the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strawberries and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Remove the strawberries (reserving the poaching liquid), and set the fruit aside.
2. Place 1/4 cup of the strawberry liquid in a bowl, sprinkle over the gelatine and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the gelatine mixture to the remaining liquid in the saucepan, stir through and simmer for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Place the strawberries, cut-side up, in a well greased 26cm x 8cm x 7.5cm loaf tin and pour over the liquid. Wait until cooled slightly then place in the freezer until set but not frozen.
3. To make the panna cotta, sprinkle the gelatine over the water and set aside for 5 minutes. Place the cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and stir.
Add the gelatine mixture and simmer over low heat for 4 minutes or until dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature then pour the mixture over the set jelly and place in the freezer until set. To serve, dip the tin into a baking dish of warm water and invert onto a plate. Slice and serve immediately. Serves 6-8.