I was always afraid of panna cotta until I did my cooking course in the UK, where I realised it was a delight and absolutely nothing to be afraid of. So finally, I decided to bite the bullet and have a crack at one myself outside the safety of a classroom kitchen full of bints interfering in every move you make just because you have some form of ingredients in your hands.
I was inspired by a recipe in Donna Hay’s cookbook ‘Seasons’ for pear & espresso. It looked so beautiful I had to have a crack. It seemed simple enough, although I hit an early hurdle that should have really set off alarm bells. Firstly, finding 1.25 cup dishes was near impossible. I found these cute little dishes which are part of GRam’s Royal Doulton line, they were under a cup each though so I figured the recipe called for two, so I bought four. Theory works, right? Well, that was my first mistake. The second was I cut the pear too thin. I read the recipe wrong, and when I re-read, I thought ‘whoops’ followed by ‘how bad can this be?’.
Well the panna cotta part worked wonders, and the flavours were all there, it was absolutely delicious. The problem was the dish depth and the pear (it ended up floating & setting in the middle, rather sitting on the bottom ready to look all beautiful when inverted on a plate). Next time, I will use deeper dishes and thicker pear slices. I would also reduce the espresso sauce a bit more, it was not as syrupy as I expected when I was making it. It reduced by half so I figured that I would let it cool and it will get sticky. It kind of did, but kind of didn’t. Either way, I would do this again for sure. Now I need to find a use for my four new Royal Doulton dishes….