White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Saffron and Cardamom

This is my idea of Italian nursery food, especially combined with white chocolate. My theory is that white chocolate is one the closest things to breast milk, at least most small children I know seem to think so. It could be served with all sorts of things other than chocolate sauce, particularly a sharp fruit, such as rhubarb or raspberry.

Ingredients

  • 2 gelatine leaves
  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 12 whole cardamom pods, bruised
  • 200 g white chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp saffron strands
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Chocolate Sauce, to serve

Method

In a bowl, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until supple.

In a small heavy pan, bring the whipping cream to the boil with the vanilla pod and seeds from the cardamom pods and simmer on a very gentle heat a few minutes to infuse. Take out the vanilla pod and the cardamom, and put these to one side.

Make a ganache by pouring a little of the hot cream on to the white chocolate crumbs. Slice open the vanilla pod and put the seeds into the ganache.

Squeeze out excess water from the gelatine leaves and drop into the remaining hot cream. Stir until completely dissolved. Stir in the saffron and leave to steep for a minute for two. Allow to cool.

Fold into the cooled ganache, sprinkling in the lemon zest as you do. Pour the mixture into 6 small timbales, clean yoghurt pots or tea cups and chill for at least 2 hours.

To serve, unmould straight from the fridge with the help of quick dip in very hot water if necessary, and accompany with some dark chocolate sauce.

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