It would almost be sacrilege for this blog, if it were to let strawberry season pass by and not do a post with the fruit. And this year, the strawberry season has stretched from November and is most likely to continue till the end of the month. So, if anything, I am coming in late to the party.
In mood for some dessert, I am pairing a vanilla panna cotta with a strawberry consommé. Perfect for the weather, I reckon. The days are getting warmer but Summer is still a while away.. or at least that's the hope!
I have had a traditional all cream panna cotta on my mind for a while but I've waited till the Winter as an all cream dessert seemed a bit much for any other time of the year. And then Winter, turned out a cold one and I haven't been ready for a cold dessert, well... till now.
When it comes to panna cottas, I have always had Nigella's infamous words at the back of my mind. She once said a panna cotta should have 'the quiver of a 17th century courtesan's inner thigh'! Only Nigella could have said that with aplomb?!
What she was essentially telling us was that the amount of gelatine to be used should be just enough for a gentle set where the panna cotta holds shape but still has that wobble. And for some reason, such an exacting standard has always intimidated me. I've preferred letting my panna cottas set in glasses and serve them just like that.
And then came last year's Masterchef Australia and if you've seen it, you know about Emelia and her success with panna cottas. The judges hailed her as the 'Panna Cotta Queen'. Although, she excelled at a lot more than panna cottas! Anyhow, luckily for me, she shares the recipe of her infamous panna cotta on her website.
It needed something fruity to pair with or else I feel all the cream tends to get a bit rich and heavy on the palate. And that's where I thought a strawberry consommé would do the trick.
While turning them out of their moulds, I wondered if the gelatine had been enough but to Emelia's credit, the panna cotta would have gotten Nigella's approval. It was creamy, smooth, gently firm with a slight wobble and most importantly, not cloyingly sweet.
The strawberry consommé is fruity, fresh with a slight tang that refreshes and livens up the palate. This is a beautiful marriage of contrasting textures and flavours that is bound together by the flavour of vanilla that runs common to both elements. They counter and complement each other whilst keeping it simple!
Have you made anything interesting with strawberries this season?? Tell me!
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta With Strawberry Consomme
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
For the panna cotta, it is only fair that I direct you to Emelia's website. Click on this link for the recipe.
For the consommé :
- 200 gms strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 100 gms caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, scraped
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C.
- Combine the strawberries, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and keep aside for ten minutes.
- Cook the strawberries en papillote. Take a parchment paper with the dimensions of 15-inch x 12-inch.
- Place the strawberry mixture in the centre of the parchment paper.
- Fold the papillote lengthwise. And then secure the edges. Ensure that the papillote is well secured.
- Place the parcel on a baking tray and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest for ten minutes.
- Scrape all the mixture of the paper and push it through a fine sieve. It would be preferable to place a cheesecloth over a sieve so as not to cloud the consommé.
- Collect the consommé in a jug and leave to cool.
- When ready to serve, remove the panna cotta from the fridge and dip the moulds in a tray of hot water for a few seconds. Then turn out the panna cotta into bowls/plates just before serving. Pour the consommé around the panna cotta and serve.