I have been so lucky with piles of fabulous, fresh local fruit recently. Â Blackcurrants, loganberries, strawberries, gooseberries and red currants. Â We have had many of the classics such as gooseberry fool and some new ideas such as blackcurrant shortbread cake. Â I made redcurrant jelly for the first time, pretty straightforward apart from my slightly Heath Robinson jelly bag of muslin suspended via a wooden spoon over a deep jug – it worked! Â Blackcurrant jam and loganberry jam sit in my larder, a comforting site if ever I saw one.
After making the jam I had a few blackcurrants left over, maybe 100g, and this is what came to mind as a way of using them up. Â They have such a huge and tangy flavour that only a little is required and I thought this gentle, creamy vanilla pannacotta the perfect way to show off the blackcurrant sauce. Â Sweet and fruity, sharp and vanilla – these two flavours work so well together.
I have to admit to having avoided recipes containing gelatine for years. Â I remember my mother once spilling a gelatine mixture on the floor and as she was in a rush, quickly put down some newspaper to soak it up. Â The result was sheets of newspaper glued firmly to the flagstones which took some elaborate and extensive chipping away to remove. Â To be fair this was powdered gelatine and I still rarely use that. Â My preferred type is the clear almost glass like sheets which work a treat. Â These little puddings are so easy and quick to prepare and always go down a storm. Â I’ve finished the blackcurrants but we had the pannacottas again yesterday this time with chopped strawberries macerated in a little sugar until they were deep crimson and juicy – fabulous.
Vanilla Pannacotta with Blackcurrants
200ml whole milk
100ml single cream
100ml Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
60g caster sugar
2 gelatine leaves
20-40g caster sugar
Put the gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soften. Â Heat the milk, cream, vanilla and sugar until it just reaches boiling point. Â Remove from the heat and add the squeezed out gelatine, whisk well and leave to cool, stirring occasionally. Â Whisk in the yogurt and divide between 4 ramekins or small metal moulds. Â Put into the fridge for at least 4 hours to set. Â Meanwhile put the blackcurrants into a pan with a splash of water and 20g sugar. Â Heat gently until just falling apart and forming a syrupy sauce. Â Carefully taste, you may need more sugar, it depends very much on their sweetness. Â When you are happy with the balance leave the sauce to cool. Â To serve, dip each ramekin briefly into hot water before turning out onto a plate and serve with the blackcurrants. Â Serves 4.