Dark chocolate panna cotta with fresh raspberries

23 Sep

Ah, panna cotta. Ah, any gelatin-based dessert. Yum.

This was our first foray into using agar flakes, a seaweed substitute for gelatin, although the packet was mysteriously already open, so I think perhaps we had tried something before and I’ve blocked it from my memory.  It probably wasn’t as delicious as this little experiment.

This is one of those desserts you can prepare well in advance of your friends coming over so you can, in our case, sit in the living room and look at their pictures of a long trip through South America without feeling resentful that you have to cook as well as resentful for your lack of ever having been to South America.

Anyway, I really recommend using very dark chocolate for this, because with all the cream and milk it gets quite diluted. In future I want to experiment with making a think layer of berry jelly to go on top of this, but for the meantime this is rather good enough.

Chocolate panna cotta (serves 4)

  • 270ml whole milk
  • 4 tsp cocoa powder
  • 35g sugar
  • 170ml single (pouring) cream
  • 1.25 TBSP agar flakes (or gelatin)
  • 30g very dark, very good chocolate (we used 85% Pierre Marcolini)

Heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat slightly and add cocoa powder and broken up chocolate. Throw in the agar flakes and keep stirring over low heat for a few minutes. Add cream, turn off heat and keep stirring until the agar (or gelatin) is dissolved.

Pour into small glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. If you want a panna cotta that you can turn out and will stand on its own, make sure you grease the glasses and you’ll have to leave the panna cotta to set overnight to be sure.

Top with fresh raspberries (or something tart to cut through)

Estimated cost: £2.50

Musical accompaniment: CW Stoneking.

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