Panna Cotta has a reputation for being difficult to make, but in fact the only tricky bit can be unmoulding the puddings. As long as you don’t hold the moulds in the warm water too long they are usually alright. They do look lovely when they are unmoulded and sitting on plates; perfectly formed little towers of creaminess. You will need 6 dariole moulds (or small plastic cups).
200g mascarpone cheese
150ml double cream
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
4 sheets gelatine
50g icing sugar
1.Place the mascarpone in a bowl and gradually whisk in the milk. Make sure the mixture is completely smooth. Pour the double cream into a saucepan and add the sugar. Split the vanilla pod and, using a sharp knife, scrape the seeds into the double cream. Bring the cream to boiling point add as soon as you see small bubbles forming on the surface of the cream, remove the pan from the heat.
2. Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water until they are soft. This usually takes about 4 minutes. Drain the leaves and pat them dry with kitchen paper, then gently squeeze out any excess water.
3. Add the softened gelatine to the double cream mixture and whisk until the gelatine has dissolved. Pour the cream on to the mascarpone and mix thoroughly. Decant the mixture into the moulds and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
4. When you’re ready to serve, place each mould in some warm water before inverting it on to a plate. Give the mould a wiggle and the panna cotta should come free.
5.To make the strawberry sauce simply blend the strawberries and icing sugar together. Pass through a sieve and serve with the panna cotta.
This recipe comes from the award-winning cookbook What’s for Dinner? Second Helpings by Romilla Arber. The proceeds from the book sales help fund Romilla’s Food Education Trust that awards grants to schools, groups and institutions to help them promote the benefits of home cooking.