Panna cotta with marinated prunes and hazelnut croquante

Theo Randall uses Italian Vecchia Romana brandy in this beautifully creamy dessert, but if you can't get your hands on this particular brandy, any good quality brandy will do. The tea-soaked prunes lend this recipe a warming quality.

First published in 2015
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Ingredients

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Imperial

Panna cotta

  • 600ml of double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 1/2 lemon, rind thinly peeled
  • 1 1/2 gelatine leaves
  • 75ml of milk, chilled
  • 75g of icing sugar
  • 6ml of grappa

Prunes

Hazelnut croquante

  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 50ml of water
  • 200g of whole hazelnuts, blanched and toasted

Equipment

  • 6 panna cotta or dariole moulds

Method

1
Heat two thirds of the cream with vanilla and lemon rind until the mixture is boiling, then reduce to a simmer until the cream is reduced by a third. Pour into a large bowl and leave to cool over ice
  • 400ml of double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1/2 lemon
2
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold milk for 5 – 10 minutes until soft. Remove the gelatine leaves from the milk and set aside. Pour the milk into a pan and warm gently until just below boiling point
  • 1 1/2 gelatine leaves
  • 75ml of milk
3
Add the gelatine back into the milk and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and strain the milk into the cream mixture, then add the grappa
  • 6ml of grappa
4
While this mixture is cooling, whisk every 5 minutes to prevent it from going lumpy
5
Whip the remaining cream with the icing sugar to soft peaks. When the lemon mixture has cooled to a consistency of double cream, fold the whipped cream into it
  • 200ml of double cream
  • 75g of icing sugar
6
Divide the mixture between 6 moulds, and leave to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours
7
For the prunes, make the Earl Grey tea with the water. Add the prunes (with the stones in) to the tea mixture and soak for 20 minutes
8
When the prunes have swelled up, drain them and remove the stones. Add the brandy to the prunes and marinade for 2 hours
9
To make the croquante, heat the sugar and water together until the sugar fully dissolves. Simmer until the syrup turns to light golden caramel, making sure not to burn it
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 50ml of water
10
Add the nuts to the syrup, cook for 1 minute then pour onto a greased chopping board. Allow to cool, then chop into small pieces
11
Immerse the panna cotta moulds in hot water for 5 – 10 seconds so they turn out easily. Position on a plate, and serve with the stoned-prunes and a few shards of hazelnut croquante
First published in 2015
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With Theo Randall’s career including experience in some of London’s most prestigious locations as well as Chez Panisse in California, it’s vital to note that – prior to opening up his own first solo venture – he secured his reputation as head chef at The River Cafe.

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