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Hawthorn Blossom Panna Cotta with Cherries

Mon, 20 May 2024

Hawthorn Blossom Panna Cotta with Cherries
Serves 6
For the pannacotta:
600ml double cream
100ml full fat milk
50g hawthorn blossom, flowers picked off the stems
60g caster sugar
2 ½ sheets of gelatine
A little sunflower oil (or another flavourless oil) to grease the dariole moulds
For the cherries:
2 tablespoons caster sugar
A small handful of hawthorn blossom, flowers picked off the stems (about 10g)
250g cherries
To garnish:
A fee hawthorn flowers
Shortbread biscuits
Lightly grease 6 dariole moulds with sunflower oil, alternatively these can be made in small glasses or teacups if you don’t want to turn them out.
Pick all the individual flowers off the hawthorn blossom stems, removing as much green stalk as you can.
Put the hawthorn flowers, double cream and milk in large saucepan over a low heat and heat until it just starts to simmer. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool and then refrigerate overnight (or for at least 8 hours) to let the hawthorn flavour infuse into the cream.
Once the cream mixture is infused strain though a sieve lined with a piece of clean muslin or a tea towel into a clean saucepan. Squeeze the muslin or tea towel to get as much mixture and flavour out of the lilac as possible. Discard the lilac flowers.
Put the sheets of gelatine into a bowl of cold water to soak for 10 of minutes.
Put the saucepan with the cream in it on the stove on a medium heat, once warm add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then turn off the heat. Remove the gelatine sheets from the cold water, squeezing well to remove any excess water. Add the gelatine to the hot cream and stir well until the gelatine is completely dissolved.
Pour the cream into the prepared moulds and once they are cool enough put them in the fridge to set for at least six hours or preferably overnight.
For the cherries put the hawthorn blossom and sugar in a mortar and pestle or a mini food processor and crush (or whizz) until combined.
About half an hour before serving hull and quarter the cherries and mix with the hawthorn blossom sugar. Set aside to macerate.
To turn out the panna cottas dip the bottom of the mould into a bowl of freshly boiled water for a couple of seconds and then invert onto the plate and while holding it against the plate give it a couple of firm shakes. It should plop onto the plate. If it doesn’t release I find carefully running a sharp knife around the edge of the mould helps to release the seal.
Serve the pannacotta with the macerated cheries and a few hawthorn flowers to garnish. A piece of homemade shortbread is a brilliant accompaniment to this dessert.

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