Vanilla bean panna cotta with a chilled raspberry and lemongrass soup
This is a beautiful summer dessert; the creamy panna cotta with the fragrant chilled raspberry and lemongrass soup really complement each other. It can be made well in advance and takes moments to put on the plate meaning you have more time to socialise and less time to worry about cooking.
Ingredients | Serves 6
For the panna cotta
- 2 vanilla pods
- 284ml double cream
- 200ml whole milk
- 2 gelatine leaves
- 50g caster sugar
For the raspberry and lemongrass soup
- 1½ litre water
- 310g caster sugar
- 3 lemongrass sticks
- 1kg raspberries
- For the garnish
- 200g fresh raspberries
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Both elements of this dessert require forward planning and need to be made at least 3 hours before serving but preferably make them the day before, which will give you less to worry about on the day of your meal.
Starting with the panna cotta take the gelatine leaves and soak them in cold water for 10 minutes until they soften. Pour the cream, milk and caster sugar into a heavy based saucepan and put on the stove over a medium heat. Whilst the cream mixture heats, cut open the vanilla pods and with the back of a knife remove all the seeds. Add the seeds and split vanilla pods to the cream mixture. When the cream begins to simmer turn off the heat, remove the soft gelatine from the water and add to the hot cream. Whisk in the pan for a few seconds to disperse the vanilla seeds and dissolve the gelatine. Leave to infuse for 15 minutes then discard the empty vanilla pods. Pour the panna cotta mixture into six dariole moulds or six ramekins, place in the fridge and chill until needed. They will take approximately 3 hours to set.
The raspberry and lemongrass soup can also be done in advance and will actually improve in flavour if left to infuse for 24 hours as it will intensify the lemongrass flavour of the soup. Start by adding the water and sugar to a heavy based saucepan, place on a high heat and bring to the boil. Once at a rolling boil remove from the heat and add the raspberries. Using a stick blender and being careful, liquidise the raspberries in the liquid until you have no pieces of fruit left, then leave the mixture to cool for an hour. After 1 hour, strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a container. Using the back of a knife hit the lemongrass sticks to break and bruise them which will release their lovely fragrant flavour, then add to the raspberry soup and leave to infuse in the fridge until needed.
Take the chilled raspberry soup and strain through a fine sieve into a jug to remove the lemongrass. Pour the soup into your serving bowls. Gently heat a pan of water on the stove; once hot take each panna cotta and gently lower the bottom of the dariole mould into the water, releasing the panna cotta from the mould. Using two fingers press on the side of the panna cotta and they will slide out of the moulds. Place in the bowl and garnish with a few fresh raspberries.