Friday, 17 April 2009

Strawberry and Chocolate Panna Cotta Shots

We had been serving up the remaining ganache from Mum's birthday cake just melted with some extra cream on fruit or with the cake offcuts and icecream. It's pretty damn tasty like that, but when it came to the fourth dinner party we were holding since the party (my poor student of a best friend needed feeding while staying in town so we thought we might as well feed everybody else too) I thought we should branch out and do something more exciting. We still had well over a kilo of ganache that was solid in the fridge (as you can see below!) so I took a lump out for the dinner and froze the rest in chunks - I'd experimented with freezing it and then melting again with cream to make a lovely chocolate sauce etc a few days ago.

As we were having three courses, with a big roast dinner with all the trimmings for main, we didn't want a great big filling pudding. I decided to go down the tiny-but-rich route and use shot glasses. As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to layer up some strawberry puree with something creamy and something with the ganache. I deliberated for ages over what kind of creamy base to use - I thought of doing a baked custard, but then realised that the shot glasses wouldn't bake and I didn't want to use ramekins and not be able to see the layers. So I flicked through numerous recipe books and settled on a pannacotta - much lighter in the end, but creamy enough to set off the strawberries.

So I improvised a milk/cream mix with the gelatine packet, Tartelette's Mango & Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Panna Cottas and a creme fraiche based panna cotta recipe I found. I made too much for my shot glasses, so filled a couple of ramekins for another day (just had one for lunch, in fact, topped with some leftover fruit salad - very lovely). I let it set for a few hours in the fridge, then popped it in the freezer briefly while I made the puree to try and make sure it didn't break when I poured the puree on. I piped the puree on, which wasn't really needed, but I bought a new bag and tip set the other day and wanted to play - and was being paranoid about getting it up the sides of the tiny shot glasses. Had a bit of a disaster when I realised the strawberries had gone off since I had started dreaming of using them, and so had to pop out for more, which weren't as ripe and tasty as I would have liked. A bit of balsamic helped bringing the flavour out, though.

After putting them in the freezer for an hour or so to solidfy the puree before I added the chocolate, I set about deciding what to do with the ganache. I wondered about trying to mix in yolks and then fold in whites to make a mousse, but it didn't quite feel...right. So I just whipped up the melted ganache with extra cream and piped that on. Another time I would do this closer to the time - we went out before dinner so it was in the fridge for a few hours - as it ended up a little too solid. It would still benefit from cooling down, though, just not enough to solidfy it that much - maybe more like half an hour.

Strawberry and Chocolate Panna Cotta Shots

Edit: I've removed the recipe as I'm not happy with it and don't want you to try it and be disappointed.


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