Tonka bean is a rare treat and is used in this magical dessert from Matt Gillan alongside some stunning popcorn accompaniments. Caramelised popcorn can be bought pre-made but you can also make your own: simply boil together 125g butter, 150g sugar and 2 tbsp of water until you have a caramel, then fold through popcorn

For the panna cotta, combine the cream, milk, sugar and tonka bean in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatine. Pour into glasses or bowls and set in the fridge until firm
Soaking gelatine
To soak the gelatine leaves, put in cold water for about four minutes
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Use your fingertips to rub the butter and flour together into a bread crumb like consistency. Add the sugar and popcorn and mix well. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden, remove and allow to cool
For the bubble or foam, bring the milk and cream to the boil. Add the popcorn and heat until it softens. Blend the mix until smooth and pass through a fine strainer. Blend with a stick blender while still warm, scoop off the foam and reserve to use as a garnish
For the soy gel, prepare a flat non-stick tray. Combine the orange juice, water, soy sauce, sugar and agar agar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and pour onto the tray
Leave to chill until set. Once set, use a blender on a low speed to break it down into a gel. Pass through a fine strainer and store in a squeezy bottle
Remove the panna cotta from the fridge. Sprinkle with the crumble, a large spoon of the reserved foam and a squeeze of the soy gel. Serve
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Tonka bean panna cotta

  • 300g of double cream
  • 300ml of whole milk
  • 120g of caster sugar
  • 1 tonka bean, finely grated
  • 4 gold gelatine

Popcorn crumble

  • 130g of plain flour
  • 160g of butter
  • 90g of caster sugar
  • 50g of popcorn, caramelised

Popcorn bubbles

  • 250g of popcorn, caramelised, a little extra for garnish
  • 200g of double cream
  • 400ml of whole milk

Soy sauce gel


  1. Stick blender
  2. Blender
  3. Squeezy bottle
  4. Fine strainer

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Matt Gillan shares a stunning tonka bean recipe, using the rare ingredient in a panna cotta with some dazzling popcorn-based accompaniments