White Chocolate Panna Cotta Blackberry Compote
from Chris Halpin
Panna cotta is a wonderful pudding from northern Italy that is similar to a crème brûlée, but so much less finicky. It’s quick to make but needs at least six hours to fully set before serving. When it comes to fresh summer berries, I think the less that’s done to them, the better. This compote is just sugar, berries and a little vanilla. A very small amount of vanilla with berries helps brighten their flavour, the same way that salt works for savoury foods. The acid in the sugar draws the juices from the berries to make a beautiful jewel-coloured syrup.
3 c. half-and-half cream
1 c. chopped white chocolate
2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4-1/2 t.)
1/4 c. cold water
1-1/2 c. fresh blackberries
1/4 c. icing sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
Put the cream into a medium pot over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Remove it from the heat and stir in the white chocolate, stirring until all the chocolate is melted and thoroughly mixed in.
Put the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water. Allow it to soften – this will take 2-3 minutes. When the gelatin is soft, mix it with the water until fully dissolved. Stir the gelatin into the chocolate cream mixture and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes to ensure it’s completely mixed in.
Spoon the panna cotta into 8 martini glasses or champagne flutes. Leave room at the top for the compote, which is added just before serving. Arrange the glasses on a tray and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 6 hours.
To make the compote, put the blackberries, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and stir gently until the sugar is mixed in. Place in the refrigerator and stir from time to time until the sugar has dissolved and there’s a lovely syrup. When you’re ready to serve the panna cotta, arrange each glass on a little plate and spoon the compote over top. Serves 8.