It is day two of rhubarb week and to ease you in gently, ahead of a trickier recipe later in the week, today is about as easy as it gets, no baking, minimal effort and a definite crowd pleaser.
There is something rather magical about the vibrant pink of rhubarb next to something so simple and pale as a panna cotta, it looks special, elegant almost. It also belies the effort put in, and would look at home in any restaurant or at any dinner party. Actually it makes for a perfect dinner party dessert as everything can be prepared ahead meaning you're not making the faux pas of spending the entire evening in the kitchen (yes, this and all other modern etiquette questions will be answered in my upcoming book Edd’s Guide To Not Screwing Up)
Panna cotta with roasted rhubarb is a natural combo, basically a classic and for a good reason. I like when rhubarb gets a chance to shine, not hidden under lots of other flavours so a panna cotta is the perfect way of serving it. For this version I have taken that classic and tweaked it, just a little. I have used the roasted rhubarb from my last post and, once roasted, added a couple teaspoons of rose water, a magical combo if done right. Rose has a delicate balance to play, which becomes obvious when you ask people if they like the flavour. Quite often the answer will be no, making some reference to old ladies or tasting like perfume. Too much rosewater and you're in old dusty soap territory and too little you just cant taste it. To find your own balance add the rosewater little by little until it tastes just right. Also be wary of different brands, some taste sweeter, some more perfumed so tasting as you go is a sensible idea. For the actual panna cotta I have strayed from the usual dairy to add a little tang using buttermilk, which pairs beautifully with the sweet and sharp rhubarb.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Rhubarb and Rose
2 gelatine sheets
250ml double cream
50g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Rose Roasted Rhubarb
1 batch roasted rhubarb (recipe here)
2-3 tsp rose water
edible rose petals, to serve (optional)
For the roasted rhubarb make as per the instructions here. Once finished simply add rose water, to taste. I would suggest 2-3 teaspoons. If serving chilled carefully transfer to a small container and refrigerate until needed. If serving warm I would make this as and when needed, if you reheat the rhubarb you run the risk of turning it mushy, I prefer it just to be holding its shape.
For the panna cotta place the gelatine into a small bowl and cover with ice cold water.
Place the cream, sugar and vanilla into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to help the sugar dissolve evenly. Remove the gelatine from the water, squeezing off any excess moisture. Add to the pan and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour into a jug. Carefully divide the mixture between the dariole moulds and refrigerate for at least four hours.
When ready to serve dip the dariole moulds into hot water to loosen the puddings then gently invert onto a plate to serve. Spoon some of the rhubarb onto the plate and enjoy.
Dont forget I have two more fabulous rhubarb recipes coming up this week so dont forget to keep checking back, the recipes only get better each day!