Panna Cotta with Green Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote
Elderflowers are back in season at the moment. We use them in a myriad of different ways in the kitchen. They have a particular affinity with green gooseberries which are in season at the same time.
600ml (1 pint/2 1/2 cups) double cream
1-2 vanilla pods, split lengthways
50g (2oz/1/4 cup) castor sugar
scant 2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) water
Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote
900g (2lbs) green gooseberries
2 or 3 elderflower heads
600ml (1 pint/2 1/2 cups) cold water
400g (14oz/1 3/4 cups) sugar
gooseberry leaves (optional)
softly whipped cream
soft brown Barbados sugar
6-8 moulds (75-110ml/3-4fl oz) lightly brushed with non-scented oil - sunflower or arachide
First make the panna cotta. Put the cream into a heavy bottomed saucepan with the split vanilla pods and castor sugar. Put on a low heat and bring to the shivery stage. Meanwhile, ‘sponge’ the gelatine in the water. Put the bowl in a saucepan of simmering water until the gelatine is dissolved. Add a little of the cream to the gelatine, then stir both mixtures together. Remove the vanilla pods, then pour into the moulds. When cold, cover and refrigerate until set, preferably overnight.
Next make the compote.
First top and tail the gooseberries. Tie 2 or 3 elderflower heads in a little square of muslin, put in a stainless steel or enameled saucepan, add the sugar and cover with cold water. Bring slowly to the boil for 2 minutes. Add the gooseberries and simmer just until the fruit bursts. Allow to get cold. Serve in a pretty bowl and decorate with fresh elderflowers.
Put a large gooseberry leaf on a plate. Carefully turn out a wobbly panna cotta onto or beside the leaf, spoon a little compote on to the plate. Put a blob of softly whipped cream to the side. Sprinkle this with soft brown sugar and serve immediately.