Lemon verbena panna cotta. The basic panna cotta (‘cooked cream‘) of cream and vanilla originates the Piedmont region of Italy some time in the early 20th Century. I have made verbena ice cream for an age, but I was enchanted by the notion of verbena panna cotta when Alex Laptyeva of Casa di Pizza in Whaley Bridge, High Peak made some using my supply of herbs
The recipe given here takes Anna Del Conte’s base recipe for vanilla panna cotta, and adds the ass end of our garden verbena to the mix. The gelatine quantity has been recalculated to cope with the extra volume. Yield goes from 6 units to 7. A raspberry coulis spiked with wine, and a nut brittle finish the gig.
Casa di Pizza can be found at 5 Market Street, Whaley Bridge, High Peak, Derbyshire SK23 7AA, United Kingdom. Call Natasha on +44 1663 734333 for a reservation (essential).
Panna cotta alle verbena
- For the panna cotta:
- 10g gelatine (7 leaves)
- 450ml double cream
- 150ml milk
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 handful fresh verbena
- 4 tbsp kirschwasser
- 0.25 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- Vegetable oil
- For the coulis:
- 2 handfuls of raspberries
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 shots (60ml) of sweet red dessert wine
- For the brittle:
- 0.5 cups granulated sugar
- 0.25 cups golden syrup (or corn syrup)
- 0.5 cups salted peanuts
- 0.25 tsp baking powder
To make the panna cotta:
Soften the gelatine in a bowl of cold water until floppy. Squeeze out and dissolve in 4 tbsp water in a small pan over a low heat.
Mix the cream, milk, verbena and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about a minute. Remove from the heat. Add the kirsch, vanilla and dissolved gelatine. Mix thoroughly and strain.
Lightly brush 6–7 ramekins with the oil. Pour in the cream mixture, allow to cool, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
To make the coulis:
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blitz. Pass through a sieve into a jar and store.
To make the brittle:
Melt the sugar and syrup in a saucepan or small sauté pan until melted, but not browning. Add the nuts and baking powder. Swirl on a low heat until combined.
Pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone and use an oiled spatula to spread thin. Cool completely and break into shards.
To release the panna cotta, place the ramekins in a sink of hot water for 20 seconds. Run around the edge with a small palette knife and turn out onto plates. Drizzle the coulis around and top with a piece of brittle.