Sunday, 25 October 2009

Panna Whatta?

I made panna cotta tonight and it was brilliant.
We had Scotch Broth for starters (1940's rationing, eat your heart out), then roast beef, roast pots, roast parsnips, green beans and gravy. Followed by panna cotta with poached plums.

I have never really eaten or cooked with plums before, but the more I try them, the more I like them.

I did actually make plum jam using plums off the plum tree in Gala. Not the eponymous Soor Plooms tree I should say, just the one in the low garden trained against the wall. I don't remember these as being terribly juicy flavourful specimens. I suspect the lack of cross pollenation, or some such hoticultural thing, might explain their tasteless demenour, but undetered, the young Emily, intreped preserver managed to pick enough plums off the grass and not be too scared by the bugs eating the fruit to make jam. It was universally dismissed by all and I recall it sat in the cupboard for quite some time. I didn't really like it either, truth be told.

Anyhow, I have got over myself and the plum jam fiasco and made this tonight;

250ml each of milk and double cream
1 vanilla pod, halved, seeds scraped out
1oz sugar
Put all of the above in a pan on the heat and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile put 3 sheets of leaf gelatine in some water to soften. After your milk/cream has come to simmer point, take out the vanilla, drip-dry the gelatine briefly then add to the milk and allow it to melt in.
Pour the mixture in 4 ramekins, or pudding moulds. Put in fridge.

200ml water
100g sugar - a mix of mostly castor with some soft light brown for variety
cinnamon stick
knob of root ginger chopped up
Bring all this to the boil. Stone 6 plums, cutting each into 6. Lower them into the boiling syrup. Cook for a few mins, don't overdo it.
Lift the fruit out, boil up the syrup to reduce.

To serve, dip the pudding basins in hot water and run a knife round the edge to ease them out onto plates. Plums on the side with a little drizzle of gingery cinnamon syrup over the fruit.
Hooray for autmn. A pudding well worth enduring long nights for.

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