White chocolate panna cotta with raspberries
Cooking is one of those skills that involves a lot of learning the hard way. There’s nothing like a kitchen disaster to make you realise how much you still don’t know. This process is frustrating enough in private, but can become downright embarrassing under the watchful eyes of hungry dinner party guests.
I had such a disaster many years ago, when I attempted to make apple crumble for the first time by sprinkling raw apple chunks with margarine-based crumble. Let’s just say that I’m glad I had ice cream on hand that day!
Since then I have learned a few things about cooking for guests:
1) New recipes are ok, but don’t try any cooking techniques you’re not familiar with. This is not the time to take your new kitchen blowtorch for a test drive.
2) Choose recipes that can be made ahead of time. This has the dual advantage of minimising time spent in the kitchen while your guests are over, as well as giving you a chance to salvage things if a recipe does go wrong. Think stews or curries for mains and chilled desserts.
3) Keep backups on hand. Cheese platters, ice cream or dessert wine are acceptable dessert options. Antipasti and dips are great if you miscalculate quantities and your guests are still hungry.
At my most recent dinner party I stuck to these rules, serving slow cooked duck ragout for the main (recipe to come) and white chocolate panna cotta for dessert. Both of these were still ‘impressive’ enough while allowing me to relax instead of slaving away in the kitchen =)
I made a half batch of this recipe from Taste.
For the panna cotta (makes 4 servings):
- 140g white chocolate
- 300mL pouring cream
- 25g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tbsp boiling water
- 1 tsp powdered gelatin
- 125g Greek yoghurt
Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl along with the cream. Microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring well in between, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Add sugar and essence and stir to combine. Leave for 5 minutes to cool.
Pour boiling water into a bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the top and whisk with a fork to dissolve. Add to the cream mixture and stir to combine. Leave for 10 minutes to cool.
Whisk in yoghurt. Divide mixture between four glasses and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
For the raspberry compote:
- 200g frozen raspberries
- 30g caster sugar
Put raspberries and sugar in a small sauc
epan. Heat until raspberries are defrosted and sugar has dissolved.
Top the panna cotta with compote and serve. I decorated mine with rose-flavoured Persian fairy floss and dried rose petals for a little extra ‘wow’ factor.