Vanilla Pannacotta with Strawberry Smoothie (serves 4)
- 385ml double cream
- 60ml of whole milk
- 2 vanilla pods scored in half and seeds removed
- 2 leaves of gelatin
- 60g caster sugar
- 50g diced fresh strawberries and 20g icing sugar, 5 ice cubes
Put the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla pods and seeds (Run a knife down the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds using the back of a knife) into a heavy based sauce pan and put on a low heat, bring it up to a gentle simmer and leave simmering for 10 minutes making sure you stir the mixture so it does not catch on the bottom of the pan.
After 10 minutes take it of the heat and leave to one side. Get your gelatin leaves and soak them in cold water for 10 minutes so they soften then with your hands lift them out the water and add them to the cream mixture and whisk well for a few minutes until all the gelatin has dissolved into the mixture.
Remove the vanilla pods and tip the mixture into 4 serving moulds, I use either some sort of ramekin or little kilner jars, you could also use coffee cups or even shot glasses.
Put the moulds onto a tray and refrigerate for at least two hours, the mixture will set slightly thicker than a jelly. For the strawberry smoothie place the strawberries into a blender, add the icing sugar, ice cubes and blitz into a smoothie, taste and add more icing sugar if required.
Pass the smoothie through a fine sieve to remove any little bits. To serve the Panacotta dip the base of each mould into a bowl of hot kettle water for a few seconds, turn the mould out over a plate (it might need a little shake) and the Panacotta will slide out of the mould onto the plate, then tip your smoothie into a little shot glass and sit next to the Panacotta. I cut down little straws and serve them with my smoothies.
A Little Tip...
Instead of throwing away the empty vanilla pods try drying them out by the side of the oven for a day and once dry blitz them in a food processor with 2 cups of caster sugar, instantly making vanilla sugar to flavor other desserts, also the vanilla sugar is great on fruit or cereal.