Looking back through the blog archives, I realised that I had never posted a pannacotta recipe. It is one of the quickest desserts to make ahead for a dinner party and quite a lovely and smart looking dish. The pannacotta heavens aligned this month when I received a parcel of goodies from the Prahran market via my friend Alice Zaslavsky. I met Alice back in 2012 when we were both in Masterchef Series 4. Local foodie events and social media means we keep in touch, and Alice asked me and several other food bloggers to be part of the A-Team. Each month we receive a pack of market goodies to turn into a seasonal delight to share with the world. This month’s pack included Angelina and Blood plums, Cioccolato Lombardo milk and white chocolate, Pepe Saya cultured butter and a huge bag of Lebanese cucumbers. Back in Masterchef Days this would have been a hell of an “invention test” and I am hoping that we weren’t meant to create a dish using all the ingredients….cucumbers and chocolate anyone? I have created a dish using three of them (plus liberal access to the pantry) – a white chocolate pannacotta with roasted plums and a ginger crumb.
Having used up all the fruit from mamma’s three prolific plum trees, I was ready more plums. And plums aren’t just plums – mamma has Mariposa and Santa Rosa plums – these were Angelina and Blood plums. I decided to roast them, basing the recipe on one by Belinda Jeffrey, from the Country cookbook (a charming seasonal diary of food from a few years ago).
Then there was the chocolate pannacotta…. pannacotta means cooked cream but this recipe from the Everyday Gourmet has no cream, just milk, and lots of white chocolate. It is quite like a mousse and soft rather than rubbery – it is my favourite pannacotta recipe by far. The ginger crumb is a late addition and makes good use of Pepe Saya butter (the best local cultured butter around), which you can find at Cleo’s Deli at the Prahran Market. The recipe below makes quite a large quantity of ginger crumb but it is really nice sprinkled on greek yoghurt with fruit and keeps in a sealed contained for about 2 weeks – so halve the quantity if you don’t want to make extra.
white chocolate pannacotta with roast plums and a ginger crumb
For the pannacotta:
30g caster sugar
200g white chocolate ( I used Cioccolato Lombardo 36% white chocolate)
3g (1 and 1/2 sheets) gold-strength gelatin leaves,
1/2 cup water
For the ginger crumb:
120g plain flour
15g raw sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
110g unsalted butter (I used Pepe Saya cultured butter)
For the plums:
10 firm, ripe plums (two different varieties makes a nice contrast)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
To make the pannacotta, have four 100ml capacity ramekins ready (you can spray them lightly with cooking spray so that the pannacotta does not stick – I don’t do this and mine never stick). Soften the gelatine in the water for a few minutes. Heat the milk and sugar in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the white chocolate and stir until dissolved. Now squeeze the gelatine well to remove excess water and add to the pannacotta, stirring until it is incorporated. Strain and then pour into the ramekins. Place in the fridge for 4-5 hours (or even overnight) until set. I cover the ramekins loosely with cling film.
To make the ginger crumb – place the ginger, flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl and give it a quick stir. Melt the butter in the microwave then stir this into the dry ingredients. Add a tablespoon or two of water to make a clumped crumbly mixture and place in an oven-proof tray. Bake in a 180C oven for 15 to 20 minutes until it turns golden.
Wash and halve the plums, removing the central pip. Place them on a baking tray and drizzle on the maple syrup, orange juice, vanilla bean paste and scatter the sugar. You can also add some orange segments to the tray. Bake at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes, until the plums are soft but still maintain their shape (the cooking time will depend on how firm and large your plums are). Turn up the heat to 240C for the last few minutes if you would like them to look a bit crisp around the edges.
To unmould the pannacotta, dip the base of the ramekin in hot water then flip it over tap the rim a few times onto the plate. It should drop down fairly easil. Sprinkle some ginger crumb, place a few plums on the plate and drizzle some of the sticky cooking juices from the roasted plums. Serve immediately.