white chocolate panna cotta

i love desserts and as i have mentioned before, i love making dessert! i remember the immense joy i felt when i discovered leaf gelatine. i finally realised what the hype was about and quite honestly, if you love food, dessert and cooking then it really is something to get excited about.
as a general rule, two leaves is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of powdered gelatine but always follow the packet instructions.
panna cotta is an old classic and i have made many different flavours of this tasty, decadent dessert.
similar to creme brûlée without the addition of egg yolks, making panna cotta, in my mind, a guilt free dessert.
the white chocolate panna cotta is fairly sweet so serving it with a type of berry, coulis, compote or any type of fruit works best.

ingredients | makes 6 | easy
375ml cream
125ml milk
1 vanilla pod or 1tsp vanilla essence
100g white chocolate, grated and extra for garnish
2.5 sheets leaf gelatine
40g castor sugar
mint leaves for garnish

how to
soak the leaf gelatine in cold water until soft. bring the cream, milk & vanilla to the boil. off the heat, stir in the sugar & chocolate until melted.
squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and add the gelatine to the cream mixture. mix well until fully incorporated.
pour the mixture into the ramekins or moulds. leave to cool for about 20 minutes and then place into the refrigerator for 4 – 6 hours or overnight.
serve in the ramekins or if using moulds, turn out onto a plate and decorate with berries, strawberry compote / coulis, grated white chocolate and mint leaves.

for the strawberry compote
1 punnet strawberries
8tbs castor sugar
1tsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
2tbs water

place the strawberries, water, sugar, lemon juice and zest into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to low and simmer until strawberries are soft and the liquid has thickened.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x

chocolate, cherry & nut semifreddo

although the main ingredients in a semifreddo are eggs yolks, sugar & cream, semifreddo is also a class of semi frozen desserts. in a way i think my home-made ice cream recipe fits right into this category…without the egg yolks and sugar. perhaps a slightly easier version of this beautiful, decadent Italian dessert.
this dessert is in a class of its own and so easy to make. it is the perfect make ahead dessert for any get together or party to alleviate you from standing in the kitchen while your guests entertain themselves.
a sweet dessert, i like to serve it with a berry compote. the tart with the sweet is a match made in heaven and will leave your taste buds smiling.
a beautiful valentine’s and Christmas dessert.

for the berry compote
250g strawberries
150g raspberries
8tbs castor sugar
1tsp lemon juice
zest of half a lemon
1/2tsp cornstarch

in a small pot, bring the berries, sugar, lemon juice & zest to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. in a cup, mix together cornstarch and double the amount water until smooth. add it to the berry mixture and simmer for 2 more minutes until thickened. add more water if you prefer a thinner / runnier compote. set aside to cool.

for the cookie crust
140g tennis biscuits / digestive biscuits
75g butter, melted
place the biscuits into a ziploc bag and crush using a cake roller. add the butter to the crushed biscuit and mix well.
place tin foil into a loaf tin and press into the bottom and sides, ensuring a moderate overlay. press the biscuit mixture into the bottom of the tin and less than halfway up the sides, to the desired thickness. place the loaf tin into the fridge while you prepare the ice cream.

for the ice cream
2c cream, full fat
1 can condensed milk
1.5tbs liquid glucose
1tsp vanilla paste / extract
80g toasted walnuts or almonds
60g dark chocolate, chopped
60g glace cherries, chopped

pour the condensed milk into a large mixing bowl and add to it the liquid glucose & vanilla paste / extract. mix until incorporated.
using a handheld mixer, whip the cream until soft peak stage. fold about half a cup of cream into the condensed milk mixture until combined and then gently fold the remaining cream into the condensed milk mixture. do not over mix.
gently fold the toasted nuts, chocolate and cherries into the mixture.
pour the cream mixture into the loaf tin and place into the freezer to set for at least 5 hours or overnight.
place of board or plate on top of the loaf tin and turn it around. now carefully remove the tin foil. gently turn the semifreddo around so that the biscuit mixture is at the bottom.
top with the berry compote and garnish with fresh berries and mint leaves. slice using a warm, sharp knife.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x

berry pavlova

most certainly my favourite after dinner sweet treat, the Pavlova! topped with thick cream and berries…blissful.
i have loaded my basic pavlova recipe before but it is so good that i am writing about it again. and this one boasts a different topping than before.
i like to ‘shock’ the meringue in a hot oven before turning down the heat to bake. this ensures a lovely soft and almost sticky centre.
berries are an all round crowd pleaser as is a thick, gooey, marshmallow’y pavlova so this one is fit for any occasion especially a hot summer’s day, served with iced martini’s or daiquiris.
add some fresh mint leaves for extra freshness and a good dusting of icing sugar for a little more sweetness.

ingredients | one large pavlova
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/4c castor sugar
1 1/2tsp corn flour
1tsp white wine vinegar
1/2tsp vanilla essence / paste
1/2 punnet strawberries, sliced / quartered
1/2 punnet blueberries
2c cream
1 1/2tsp vanilla essence
2tbs icing sugar
fresh mint leaves

preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. using a large cake tin, draw a circle out on a sheet of parchment / baking paper and very lightly grease with non-stick spray. set aside.
ensure that the bowl of your stand mixer is clean and dry.
with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff. with the mixer running, start adding the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition. add and beat until the the whites resemble stiff, glossy peaks.
turn the mixer off.
using a spatula, gently fold the corn flour, vinegar & vanilla essence / paste into the meringue mixture.
spoon the mixture out onto the parchment paper, covering the circle. gently smooth the edges and lightly flatten the surface.
place the tray into the oven and immediately turn the heat down to
150 degrees C. bake the pavlova for 55 minutes.
switch the oven off and leave the pavlova in the oven for 15 minutes. remove and leave to cool completely.
meanwhile, whisk the cream with the icing sugar & vanilla essence until stiff peaks form.
once the pavlova has cooled completely, top with the creme Chantilly & berries and garnish with mint leaves.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x