Wednesday 1 July 2015

Elderflower & Gooseberries

Nothing says summer to me like Elderflowers and Gooseberries and it has been a bumper year for both. Elderflower Cordial was one of the first posts I ever wrote over 4 years ago now. Now my cordial is bottled and the plumpest of the Gooseberries are harvested and  I was thinking up ways of combining the two.

To me gooseberries need cream. I remembered one of my favourite recipes from The River Cafe for a Panna Cotta with Grappa which was so delicious and the texture so amazing, that I will never forget it. Just the smell when I was making it of the cream infusing with the lemon and the vanilla, instantly transported me back 20 years. Unfortunately it is so Grappa rich that I didn't think it would be suitable for the kids so I decided to replace the Grappa with my homemade Elderflower Cordial and serve it with some stewed Gooseberries on the side. If you have no kids add some Grappa!

Elderflower Panna Cotta with Stewed Gooseberries
Serves 6
1.2 litres/2 pints double cream
2 vanilla pods
thinly pared rind of 2 lemons
4 small gelatine leaves
150ml/5fl oz cold milk
150g/5oz icing sugar
120ml/4fl oz elderflower cordial
3 cups gooseberries, topped and tailed
3 tbsp. sugar
Pour 900ml (11/2 pints) of the cream into a pan, add the vanilla pods and lemon rind, bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced by one-third. Remove the cooked lemon rind and keep to one side. Remove the vanilla pods and scrape the softened insides into the cream.
Soak the gelatine in the milk for about 15 minutes or until soft. Remove the gelatine, heat the milk until boiling, then return the gelatine to the milk and stir until dissolved. Pour the milk and gelatine mixture into the hot cream through a sieve, stir, then leave to cool.
Lightly whip the remaining cream with the icing sugar, fold into the cooled cooked cream, then add the grappa. Place a piece of cooked lemon rind in each of six small 200ml (7fl oz) moulds or bowls, pour in the cream mixture and allow to set in the fridge for at least two hours. 

Meanwhile put the gooseberries in a heavy based saucepan with the sugar and 3 tablespoons of water and cook gently until the gooseberries collapse. taste and add more sugar to taste. Allow to cool. Turn the Panna Cottas out onto dessert plates and serve with the stewed gooseberry.

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