I’m not entirely sure why, but whenever I see, hear, smell or think “honey”, I get that warm-and-fuzzy-blanket-around-my-shoulders kind of feeling. As I’ve recently discovered, that feeling works the other way around, too~! Last weekend I woke up in one of those moods… you know, the good kind of comfy-mode-mood that instantly calls for such a blanket, a good book, a steaming cup of tea and something mmmmmh to go along with it.
If it were winter already, I’d say the whole scenario would have been fairy-tale-perfect if snow had been silently falling outside or a fire was crackling away in a hearth in the general vicinity of my feet, but the thunderstorm raging on outside that day was doing a fine job adding to the whole comfiness of the day inside. With the blanket around my shoulders, a cup of tea in one and a book in the other, of course at some point my mind just jumped to honey – in my tea? No… honey and milk. But not to drink. And something fruity. But not too fruity… or fancy… or work-intensive. And then it occurred to me, my perfect blanket-mood treat, a Honey Panna Cotta~! While I was raiding my kitchen in search of a sidekick to the star of the show, I unearthed a tub of slightly overripe exceptionally late blackberries sitting in my fridge, all but screaming at me to be put to delicious and also blanket-mood appropriate use when I opened the door, so I obeyed and, after a quick glance at the “Wild Herb & Flower” label on the jar of honey I picked for the gig, turned them into a Blackberry and Rosemary Curd. Amazing how things just click together while you’re comfied up in a fuzzy blanket sometimes~! Here we go then, comfy-day-in-a-jar for 4 servings~
The Honey Panna Cotta
3 Leaves of Gelatine
125ml Low Fat Whipping Cream
3 Tbsp Honey
1 Tsp of Crystallized Honey Flakes – this is something I sometimes find and pounce at at the local Beekeepers Association stand at the Farmer’s Market or at their little shop in town. I think these are available online as well if you know where to look but I highly recommend checking out what the Beekeepers in your area are doing with their bees’ work~!
Opt: ½ Tsp Vanilla Extract or Orange Zest… or both~! Go with whatever floats your boat today!
1) Pop the gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water and allow it to soften up for about 10 mins – or as long as it takes you to breeze through the rest of the recipe~
2) Pour the cream into a small pot, set it onto medium heat and drizzle in the honey.
3) Pick up a wooden spoon and stir the mixture until the honey has dissolved completely.
4) Once that’s done, allow the cream to work up a gentle simmer, then take the pot off the heat and set it aside to calm down again for 3-4 mins.
5) Retrieve your now-wobbly gelatine and give them a good squeeze to get rid of any excess water.
6) Add them to your warm cream & honey mix and whisk them into the liquid until they’re dissolved and well blended into the mixture.
7) Slowly pour in the buttermilk and, while you’re stirring the mix, add your pick of additional flavor and keep stirring until everything is well combined.
8) Pour the warm and fragrant mixture into 4 little dessert dishes, glasses or jars, sprinkle the crystallized honey on top and, after a gentle tap onto a hard surface to un-pop air pockets, stow them away in the fridge for Round #1 – about 2 hours should do, the mix just needs to set enough to hold the layer of the now-to-be-made curd.
9) By the way, if you’re using the honey crystals and want them to be distributed more evenly throughout your Panna Cotta, you could either use a toothpick to very carefully stir the mix a bit while it’s in the serving dishes already – or, if you want the easier but slower way: wait until the mixture in your pot/jug has almost cooled down to room temperature, then stir in the crystals and transfer everything into the jars. I always go the sprinkle-way – they sink in quite enough after the air-bubble-tap and don’t clump together or melt on their way down, both of which can happen if you don’t hit the perfect temperature when you’re stirring them in. Plus… it’s faster~!
The Blackberry-Rosemary Curd
1 Sprig of Rosemary
½ Lemon, Juice
125g Light Muscovado
3 Medium-sized Eggyolks
1) Place the berries and the rosemary in a small pot set on medium-high heat and drizzle them with the lemon juice.
2) Bring them up to a low bubble and break them up with a fork to release the juice.
3) Reduce the heat to medium and leave them to simmer for 5 mins before removing the pot from the heat.
4) Fish out the rosemary once the mixture has cooled down a bit and give them 1-2 quick blasts with your stick blender – your goal is to separate the seeds from the rest of the berries without whizzing them up altogether.
5) Strain the berries through a sieve, catching the liquids in a small bowl set beneath your sieve, to remove the seeds – if you don’t mind the seeds, skip this exercise.
6) Pour the berry juice back into the pot along with the muscovado and, while stirring, bring the mix back up to a low boil.
7) Once the liquid’s merrily bubbling away, whisk up the eggyolks in a bowl and add 1 spoonful of the hot berry syrup.
8) Reduce the heat to low and give the syrup 3-5 mins to calm down again.
9) Pick up a whisk and slowly but steadily whisk the egg-mixture into the syrup until the lot is well blended into a smooth and silky cream.
10) Keep the lot on medium heat for roundabout 15 mins, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened enough to come off your spoon in a silky ribbon – a thick honey-and-cream-like consistency is what you’re looking for.
11) Make sure the mixture doesn’t work up a boil while you’re looking away for a second, the eggs don’t take kindly to too much heat – the controlled heat and your continuous whisking-action count as anti-scrambled-eggs-measures.
12) Once that ordeal’s over, whisk in the butter, turn off the heat and continue your dance with the whisk for 5 more mins.
Assembling the Dish
1) Give the curd a few moments to settle and cool down a bit – 3-4 mins should be enough for it to end up being cool enough to refrain from melting the Panna Cotta while still being runny enough to actually allow you to pour it onto said Panna Cotta.
2) In the meantime, retrieve the Panna Cotta dishes from your fridge and place them on a flat and stable surface. You might also want to grab a sterilized jar or two and have them join the ranks of your dessert dishes to take care of the “excess” curd.
3) Pour a layer of just enough of the curd on top of your waiting creamy mixture to make your toes curl in joyous anticipation, and the rest into small sterilized jars (I always use small jars to store curds since we never eat a lot at once and don’t like unsealed jars sitting around, loosing flavor or worse. If you consider yourself a menace to the curd-population of your pantry anyways, go wild with the biggest jar & spoon you can find~).
4) Move the dishes (and jars) back into the fridge for Round #2, another 2 hours of alone-time in the fridge will allow your desserts to set into delicious little treats at the end of the day~!
5) The solo Blackberry & Rosemary curd, by the way, will keep fresh and yumtastic for 1-2 weeks if sealed and stored in the fridge. Use it up within 2-3 days once you’ve broken the seal.
And now it’s time to get back under my blanket, book in one and one of these yummies in the other hand~