We love Panna Cotta in our house. It is naturally gluten free and even when you are completely stuffed from starters and mains, it always manages to slide down really easily.
This particular Panna Cotta combo is inspired by December’s We Should Cocoa. I had already planned on making a White Chocolate Panna Cotta for Christmas Day dessert. I often make a vanilla Panna Cotta, which I serve with red berries and berry coulis, but this Christmas, I have gone for something very different and a little bit extra special. White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Honey-Roasted Figs & Walnuts.
This month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by the very talented Choclette at the Chocolate Log Blog, combines chocolate with fig. The combination of White Chocolate, smooth, creamy Panna Cotta and large, juicy pink fig is perfectly delicious and wonderfully decadent for the Christmas feast. And much as I enjoy them, it is also a welcome change from the usual raspberry and blueberry accompaniment.
These figs have been roasted with honey, cinnamon and a little lemon zest, making them especially seasonal. They contrast beautifully, both in colour and texture with the creamy Panna Cotta, but the addition of a sprinkle of chopped walnuts and crisp white chocolate stars adds a touch of crunch to the proceedings.
One of the things I adore about figs is that they look quite plain on the outside……. smooth and green or purple in colour…… but nothing spectacular…….. Yet they hide an amazing, vibrant, rich, perfectly hued secret with their sweet, exotic, soft, pinky-red flesh fit for any celebration. With this pud it is neither the Panna Cotta nor the fig that over-shadow. Both are equal stars, sharing the edible stage.
The Panna Cotta is totally to die for………. Smooth, melty, amazingly creamy, deep with caramel tones from the white chocolate and vanilla, but still with the required ‘wobble’ that defines it as being the exactly required Panna Cotta texture. Italian dessert at its best…….
Need I say more?
White Chocolate Panna Cotta served with Honey-Roast Figs & Walnuts (makes 6 servings)
- Panna Cotta : Place 6 individual non-stick pudding basins (or equivalent) in the freezer to chill.
- Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water to soften for 5 minutes as per instructions on the packet.
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is just below simmering point and then remove from the heat immediately. Do not allow to boil.
- Drain the gelatine and squeeze out any excess water and add to the hot milk, stirring until completely dissolved.
- Pour the cream into a larger saucepan and add the sugar and vanilla paste. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as it starts to boil, remove immediately from the heat.
- Add the white chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth.
- Pour the milk-gelatine mix into the cream-chocolate pan and stir until fully combined.
- Take the moulds from the freezer and pour the panna cotta mixture through a tea strainer or sieve into the moulds, in equal portions.
- Cool the puddings as quickly as possible (I also covered the moulds with cling film to limit a skin forming). Chill until completely set.
- Figs : Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6. Trim the tip of the figs slightly and score a cross in the tops.
- Squeeze the sides gently to push the centre of each fig open slightly and place in a heat-proof dish.
- Drizzle each fig with a tablespoon of honey, a dusting of ground cinnamon and a sprinkle of finely grated lemon zest.
- Roast for 6 to 8 minutes until the honey has caramelised, then remove and allow to cool.
- To serve : Gently warm the outside of each pudding basin and carefully tip the panna cottas onto serving plates.
- Place a fig next to each pudding and drizzle it with a little extra honey.
- Sprinkle chopped walnut and white chocolate sprinkles onto the fig and panna cotta and serve.