be mine valentine strawberry panna cotta with lemon shortbread

Happy Valentine’s Day for tomorrow!!! I know that chocolate is an obvious choice for Valentine’s Day right, but what if you fancy something a bit different? This Strawberry Panna Cotta is light, creamy and subtly sweet with a perky strawberry sauce spiked with Framboise. Add the delicate, crispy lemony shortbread and I guess you have my twist on a strawberry shortcake. Normally I am not a fan of classics with a twist (generally speaking I think of classics as classic for a very good reason), but sometimes it’s nice to play around with familiar flavours and textures in a new way. Any hoo, enough explaining! This recipe makes just two panna cotta as it is for Valentine’s Day, but the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. It would also be a lovely option for Mother’s Day, a ladies’ lunch or baby shower. Let me know what you think! Oh and look, don’t think this is a complicated recipe, it is so easy the whole thing including the shortbread took me about half an hour to make – looks tricky but it is actually a doddle 🙂 If you’re looking for a chocolate option,just head here to the recipe index and have a good fossick…

(Extra little heads up – the strawberry flavour in the panna cotta is subtle and natural, nothing like fake strawberry flavouring, so you do need to serve it with the puree to give it a spark up!)

Rice bran oil or other baking spray
1 1/4 cups roughly chopped strawberries or raspberries – or a combination of both
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp Framboise or other liqueur (or leave out if you’re not keen)
Spray 2x 2/3 cup ramekins very lightly with oil. Put berries, sugar and Framboise in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat for 6-7 minutes until the berries are just going mushy. Pop in a small food processor or use a blender stick to whiz until a smoothish puree.
60ml milk
120ml cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 1/2 Equagold gelatine leaves (equivalent to 3grams of powder)

1/4 cup fresh berries and flowers to serve/garnish

Put the milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan (you can use the same one as before – less dishes!) and simmer for 3 minutes until the sugar is dissolved, then take off the heat. While the cream is simmering put the gelatine leaves in a bowl, cover with cold water and soak 3 minutes until soft. Remove and squeeze out excess water the put into cream and whisk until dissolved. Add half of the berry puree and stir to combine. Pour into ramekins and put in the fridge to set up for at least 4 hours and up to overnight then remove 10 minutes before serving. To remove the panna cotta from the moulds break the seal around the top with the point of a flat knife and dip each mould into a bowl of boiling water for 5 seconds, then carefully turn out into shallow serving plates. if necessary repeat hot water dunk . Top with extra berries and a flower or two if you fancy and serve with a swirl of berry puree and some lemon shortbreads.

Lemon Shortbread
80g butter, softened
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cornflour

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Pulse everything together in a food processor until it just comes together. too our onto the bench and squish together then mould into a log about 4cm in diameter. Roll up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 150˚C (300˚F) and you line a baking tray with baking paper. Unwrap log and slice into 1/2cm thick circles. Lay out on the tray and prick lightly with the tines of a fork. Bake 15-18 minutes until lightly golden. Makes about 21.

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