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A recipe from Edwena Mitchell from Edwena Mitchell Catering

Makes about 3 litres of fruit – keeps for ages in the fridge

For the Fruit:

  • 1 litre good white wine
  • 1 litre white sugar
  • 3 pears, peeled and quartered
  • 3 granny smith apples – peeled and quartered
  • About a dozen other stone fruit (peaches, plums, apricots, figs quartered)
  • Whole star anise
  • 1 vanilla bean – split and seeds scraped out (into syrup)

Make a heavy sugar syrup (put sugar, wine & spices in heavy pot & bring to boil. Turn heat down, add pears & simmer til tender, lift out and reserve.

Add other stone fruit (unpeeled) & remove pips before poaching. Simmer gently till just tender – lift out and add to pears. Add apples & cook carefully till tender.

Return other fruit to apples and syrup and cool. If using fruit for small individual desserts – when cool, cut into small bit sized pieces. If storing for a while, store in fridge in clean plastic container or glass jar.

To set the fruit mix (about 100mls per person):

Put fruit and some juice in pan, warm gently to quite hot.

Soften 2 leaves of gelatine in cold water – when soft and malleable, squeeze out excess water and add to fruit – mix well but gently with spoon. This will take about 5 – 10 minutes depending on the temperature of the cold water – ie in winter will take longer!! In summer, be careful as the gelatine can become too soft and nearly dissolve – in which case either start again – gelatine is not expensive!!

For the Panna Cotta (about 100mls per person):

  • 600ml single cream (pure pouring cream)
  • 1 vanilla bean – split and seeds scraped out (into cream)
  • 100gm white sugar
  • 2 sheets leaf gelatine

Add vanilla & sugar to cream and bring to nearly boiling – stirring, so that the seeds separate and move very freely in the cream (they will all sink to the bottom when cream is still!!). Remove from heat. Soak gelatine leaves in cold water. When soft and malleable, squeeze out excess water and add to hot cream – whisk very well. Cool cream to [summer] room temperature.

To assemble – you will need some plastic dariole moulds – or largish ramekins.

Divide evenly the fruit into the six moulds or ramekins when mix still warm and refrigerate.

When cold, pour the just warm cream gently on top of the fruit – back into the fridge. Leave to set for at least 6 hours.

To serve:

Sit moulds in a hot water bath for a couple of minutes and then with the help of a knife, upturn onto serving plate.

Serve with a wafer or sablé biscuit.

There are many ways of serving such a dessert – the easiest is to make individuals and invert on each plate. Another is to make a “log”, invert and cut slices – iffy if the weather is hot, or you have the gelatine:liquid ratio incorrect!!

For this, and for what I do for the Night Market etc, I don’t set the fruit, only the Panna Cotta and put it in a disposable Sundae cup. I have seen pictures in magazines of such a dessert served in a Brandy Balloon, tilted – looked fantastic, but quite a lot of trouble.