The key thing with panna cotta is the wobble. If it’s too firm, you’ve used too much gelatine and that’s bad for the flavour as well as the appearance. Start your meal preparations by making panna cotta first because it needs time in the fridge to set. It may be easier to unmould the panna cotta if you first place a small disc of greaseproof paper in the bottom before filling the mould.
5 gelatine leaves
250ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped out (keep the pod and use it to flavour caster sugar)
For the raspberry sauce
350g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
icing sugar to dust the panna cotta
1. For the panna cotta, soak the gelatine leaves in a little water until soft.
2. Place the milk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds and sugar in a pan and bring to the simmer. Remove from the heat. Remove the vanilla pod.
3. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves, then add to the pan. Stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Strain contents of pan through a fine mesh into a bowl.
4. Divide the mixture among four buttered ramekins or metal moulds. Leave to cool, then transfer to the fridge until set.
5. For the sauce, place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved and you have a smooth syrup.
6. Take the pan off the heat and add the raspberries. Simmer for two or three minutes until the fruit is soft. Take the pan off the heat and using a hand blender, blend it until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a bowl. Transfer to the fridge.
7. To serve, unmould the panna cotta by passing a knife heated in boiling water around the inside of each one, then turn each one out onto a plate, tapping it sharply if necessary. Spoon around the sauce and dust with icing sugar.