Today we have a special treat for you.
The very talented Anna Webster from this years MasterChef, has joined us today to share with you one of her all time favourite seasonal dishes. Just to help sweeten up your Sunday! We'll let her take it from here...
I always find it kind of weird that citrus fruits are at their best during winter. In my mind, a fresh, zingy, citrusy dessert goes better with sun and sand than it does with doonas and open fires. Yet, the profusion of yellow, green and orange fruits spilling from greengrocers and market stalls make this truth undeniable. And as the old adage goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade; or in this case, when life gives you beautiful peak-season mandarins, turn them into syrup and drizzle it over this delicious chocolate panna cotta.
The combination of mandarin, chocolate and hazelnut is a harmonious one, and there are several textures at play here too which makes this dish really nice to eat. It’s important to nail the balance of sweetness between the chocolate panna cotta and the syrup – ideally, the panna cotta will be slightly on the bitter side, which will help to balance the sweetness of the mandarin. Garnishing with mint or basil leaves will help to lighten this dessert, as will fresh mandarin segments and grated zest.
CHOCOLATE PANNA COTTA WITH MANDARIN SYRUP AND HAZELNUT TUILE
FOR THE PANNA COTTA:
- 200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped (70% cocoa solids)
- 2.5 leaves of gold-strength gelatine
- 190ml full cream milk
- 250ml thickened cream
- 80g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- Soak gelatine leaves in cold water until soft
- Lightly grease dariole moulds with neutral tasting oil (such as grapeseed) – you should be able to fill between 4 - 6 moulds, depending on size. Don’t skip this step; these can be hard to demould otherwise.
- Place cream, milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar
- Remove from heat and add chocolate, whisking to combine
- Squeeze excess water from gelatine and add to the warm mixture, whisking to dissolve
- Pass mixture through a sieve before pouring into moulds
- Refrigerate until set (at least 2 hours)
- To demould, dip moulds into warm water before running a knife around the inside of the panna cotta and turning onto a plate
FOR THE MANDARIN SYRUP:
- 180ml mandarin juice
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- Grated zest of 1 mandarin
- 2 mandarins, segmented
- Combine juice, zest and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat
- Stir to dissolve sugar and then cook until mix starts to become syrupy (about 5 mins)
- Add mandarin segments and cook until tender (about 3 minutes)
- Refrigerate until cool. You can brighten the syrup with a squeeze of fresh mandarin or lemon juice if required.
FOR THE TUILE BISCUITS:
- 50g hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
- 25g plain flour
- 50g butter, melted
- 55g caster sugar
- 2 egg whites
- Blitz 25g hazelnuts with the flour in a food processor to a fine powder
- Finely chop the remaining 25g nuts and set aside
- Mix nut powder with melted butter, sugar and egg whites
- Spread mix as thin as possible on a silicon baking mat or a baking paper lined tray. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and bake at 170 degrees until the edges have started to colour.
- Cut rounds from biscuits then return to the oven until golden all over. If you’d prefer tuile shards, bake until golden then allow to cool before snapping into desired shapes. You can also drape the biscuits over a rolling pin or similar while warm – they will harden into this shape once cool.
Bon appétit ! Xx
*Photo's of Anna care of Emily Bartlett Photography.