I have been so lucky with piles of fabulous, fresh local fruit recently. Blackcurrants, loganberries, strawberries, gooseberries and red currants. We have had many of the classics such as gooseberry fool and some new ideas such as blackcurrant shortbread cake. I made redcurrant jelly for the first time, pretty straightforward apart from my slightly Heath Robinson jelly bag of muslin suspended via a wooden spoon over a deep jug – it worked! Blackcurrant jam and loganberry jam sit in my larder, a comforting site if ever I saw one.
After making the jam I had a few blackcurrants left over, maybe 100g, and this is what came to mind as a way of using them up. They have such a huge and tangy flavour that only a little is required and I thought this gentle, creamy vanilla pannacotta the perfect way to show off the blackcurrant sauce. Sweet and fruity, sharp and vanilla – these two flavours work so well together.
I have to admit to having avoided recipes containing gelatine for years. I remember my mother once spilling a gelatine mixture on the floor and as she was in a rush, quickly put down some newspaper to soak it up. The result was sheets of newspaper glued firmly to the flagstones which took some elaborate and extensive chipping away to remove. To be fair this was powdered gelatine and I still rarely use that. My preferred type is the clear almost glass like sheets which work a treat. These little puddings are so easy and quick to prepare and always go down a storm. I’ve finished the blackcurrants but we had the pannacottas again yesterday this time with chopped strawberries macerated in a little sugar until they were deep crimson and juicy – fabulous.
Vanilla Pannacotta with Blackcurrants
200ml whole milk
100ml single cream
100ml Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
60g caster sugar
2 gelatine leaves
20-40g caster sugar
Put the gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soften. Heat the milk, cream, vanilla and sugar until it just reaches boiling point. Remove from the heat and add the squeezed out gelatine, whisk well and leave to cool, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the yogurt and divide between 4 ramekins or small metal moulds. Put into the fridge for at least 4 hours to set. Meanwhile put the blackcurrants into a pan with a splash of water and 20g sugar. Heat gently until just falling apart and forming a syrupy sauce. Carefully taste, you may need more sugar, it depends very much on their sweetness. When you are happy with the balance leave the sauce to cool. To serve, dip each ramekin briefly into hot water before turning out onto a plate and serve with the blackcurrants. Serves 4.