Panna cotta, in all its simplicity, can be the most horrendous dessert as well as the most divine. When done right it is satisfyingly creamy without being too rich and with an almost sensual wobble. My childish side love making the panna cotta move nearly as much as I love the actual eating of the dessert.
I personally prefer a light touch when it comes to flavouring a panna cotta. Too much of a good thing can be, well, too much. And swap out the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves for other flavours as well. Cinnamon works wonderfully with an endless list of fruits, or make one of my favourites: a rooibos tea scented panna cotta with roasted apricots.
Lemongrass + kaffirlime panna cotta with sansho poached greengage and herbs
Lemongrass + kaffirlime panna cotta
125ml whole milk
250ml heavy cream
1 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves
3 sheets gelatin
Place the heavy cream in a saucepan with the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and bring to just below the boiling point. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 30 minutes.
In the mean time place the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water and let them soften for 10-15 minutes.
Remove the lemongrass and leaves and add the sugar to the cream. Bring the cream back to a low simmer, and then turn of the heat. Remove the gelatin from the bowl and using your hand squeeze out excess water, and add the gelatin to the cream, whisking thoroughly to completely dissolve it. Whisk in the milk and strain the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve.
Very sparingly oil the 4 ramekin or molds with vegetable oil before pouring the panna cotta mixture into them, then refrigerate the panna cottas for 3-4 hours until set.
Sansho poached greengage plums
6-8 greengage plums
Peel of 1 lime
1/8 tsp. sansho pepper
Place water, sugar, sansho pepper and lime peel in a saucepan and simmer until sugar has dissolved and syrup has slightly thickened.
De-stone the plums, cut them in half and place in a bowl. Pour the warm syrup over the greengages, mix carefully and let cool to room temperature.
Lemon verbena leaves
For unmolding prepare a small water bath of very warm water. Submerge the bottom of the ramekin in the hot water for 30-45 seconds. Turn the ramekin upside down on a serving plate, tap the ramekin a few times to release the panna cotta and slowly pull the ramekin up and away from the plate.
Slice the greengages or leave them as they are. Arrange the greengages around the panna cottas and garnish with the herbs. Serve immediately.