Panna cotta with marinated prunes and hazelnut croquante

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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




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


Hazelnut croquante

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


  • 6 panna cotta or dariole moulds


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
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
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
While this mixture is cooling, whisk every 5 minutes to prevent it from going lumpy
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
Divide the mixture between 6 moulds, and leave to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours
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
When the prunes have swelled up, drain them and remove the stones. Add the brandy to the prunes and marinade for 2 hours
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
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
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

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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