Rose panna cotta


For me, when it comes to beautiful, voluptuous desserts, panna cotta wins hands down. It's rich – after all, it's mostly just cream – but small enough that it doesn't have time to become cloying. By the time you're on the verge of having enough, it'll be gone. Perfect.

I make panna cotta with many different flavours, some punchy, some delicate, but this one, infused with the heady scents of roses and cardamom, is my favourite.

Making panna cotta in dariole moulds that you turn out is both traditional and very easy but feel free to set it in little cups or glasses instead. They are the perfect make-ahead dessert for entertaining and will keep happily in the fridge for up to three days. If you are serving it from the fridge, give it 10 minutes on the counter first to take the chill off.

I use leaf gelatine rather than the powdered kind that comes in sachets as I find it’s far more reliable and much easier to work with.

Rose panna cotta

Serves 2.

250ml (1 cup) single (pouring) cream
60ml (¼ cup) milk
2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tablespoon rosewater
1½ leaves gold-strength leaf gelatine

Pour the cream and milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and, gently but insistently, heat until bubbles start to form around the edge, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Remove from the heat, add the cardamom pods and rosewater, and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes.

Lightly oil two dariole moulds, if using. Otherwise, use little cups or glasses that will hold about 180ml (6 fl oz).

Soak the gelatine leaves in a shallow dish of cold water for 5 minutes. Warm through the flavoured cream over very low heat. Squeeze the water from the softened gelatine, add to the slightly warmed cream and whisk in.

Strain into a small jug and pour into the moulds. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

To unmould, dip the bottom of the dariole mould into hot water for 5 seconds and invert over a plate.