For the Panna Cotta you will need……
1 1/2 cups (375ml) pouring cream
1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or a fresh vanilla bean
1/2 cup (115g) caster sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons gelatine powder
Place the cream and milk in a saucepan. Use a small sharp knife to split the vanilla bean lengthways, and pop into the saucepan or if you are using paste then ½ tsp. slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Discard bean from cream mixture. Add sugar and return to a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until sugar dissolves. Place 2 tablespoons of boiling water in a small heatproof bowl. Sprinkle over gelatine. Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Remove from heat. Sit the bowl of gelatine in the water and stir until dissolved. Cool slightly, then stir into the cream mixture. Lightly oil a small loaf tin and line with a bit of cling film. Place on a tray and pour in cream mixture. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
To serve, break the seal by inserting a small knife between the panna cotta and the mould. Turn onto a serving plate and shake to release. Serve dish with fresh berries.
To poach the pears:
Choose 3 medium pears, peel and cut into quarters. Place in a saucepan with a sugar syrup (half sugar half water, already dissolved.) Add juice of half a lemon and a good couple of glugs of Stella Bella Sangiovese if you have one opened. If you don’t, then now is a good time to open one! Slowly poach the pears until just soft. You could also use quince instead of pear.
For the Rhubarb:
One bunch (a handful) of rhubarb should do the trick. Cut the ends off and pull the stringy bits off, don’t worry too much about it. Slice into 3cm chunks and pop into a saucepan, add a splash of water, a tablespoon of honey and at least a glass of Stella Bella Chardonnay, let this bubble down gently. Don’t overcook it; you don’t want to lose the stunning pale pink colour and those delicate little strands.
To put it all together….put the rhubarb on the bottom of the plate and tease the panna cotta out of the tin, slice into beautiful flat shiny, glossy pieces, and place on the rhubarb. Pop on a couple of quarters of pear or quince and garnish with a teeny slice off a vanilla bean, or a pretty (edible!) flower. I used a slice of pan forte with crystalized ginger which went well.
This all sounds super tricky and long winded but actually you can make everything in advance. It is just the putting together at the end that needs to be done. A real winner, so impressive and totally delicious.
Bring out the Stella Bella Moscato and you have such a pretty, sophisticated dessert.