Toasted barley panna cotta


Toasted barley may not be a flavour typically associated with desserts but here Roberta Hall-McCarron uses it to flavour a panna cotta, which is garnished with an assortment of summer berries and buckwheat. She also uses a touch of vinegar to balance out the sweetness. If you don’t have moulds, you can also make and serve the panna cotta in glasses or bowls.

First published in 2023
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Panna cotta

  • 240g of barley
  • 250g of double cream
  • 250g of whole milk
  • 35g of caster sugar
  • 8g of bronze gelatine leaves

Berry soup

  • 500g of frozen mixed berries
  • 150g of caster sugar

To serve


  • 6 panna cotta or dariole moulds



For the panna cotta, add the barley to a dry frying pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown. It needs to be heavily toasted but not burnt, so keep an eye on it and move it regularly. Transfer to a bowl to cool

  • 240g of barley

Add the cream, milk and sugar to a pan with the cooled barley. Heat the mixture but don’t let it boil, and infuse the barley for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bloom the gelatin in cold water

  • 250g of double cream
  • 250g of whole milk
  • 35g of caster sugar
  • 8g of bronze gelatine leaves

Strain the cream mixture through a sieve. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the gelatin, and add it into the warm cream mixture. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved, then pour the panna cotta mixture into the moulds. They should each hold about 90g of mixture


Place the panna cotta into the fridge to set for 3 hours


For the berry soup, mix the frozen berries and sugar together in a heatproof bowl and set aside, covered

  • 500g of frozen mixed berries
  • 150g of caster sugar

Bring a pan of water to the boil, then turn the heat down
to low. Place the berries over the pan and cook for 2 hours. All the juices should come out of the berries as the fruit steams. Check the water level in the pan regularly, topping up with boiling water as needed


After 2 hours, strain the berry juice through a sieve, and transfer to a container. Chill until cold


To serve, toast the buckwheat over a low heat in a dry pan, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Set aside

  • 30g of buckwheat

Mix the fresh fruit with a few spoonfuls of the berry soup, and a small dash of white balsamic – just enough to balance out the sweetness


To remove the panna cotta from the mould, gently dip it into warm water for a few seconds then place the plate you are going to serve the panna cotta on top of the mould. Flip it over, then remove the mould. If the panna cotta gets stuck, just dip the mould in warm water again


Dress the panna cotta with the berries on one side, and sprinkle the buckwheat over the berry soup-soaked fresh fruit. Garnish with oxalis and bee pollen

  • 20 oxalis
  • 10g of bee pollen
First published in 2023

Roberta Hall-McCarron spent the early part of her career under the wing of Tom Kitchin but has since gone on to carve a path of her own, opening the acclaimed The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh, where her bold, seasonal food brings Scotland’s natural larder to the forefront.

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