Panna cotta is a wobbly Italian dessert that translates as cooked cream Flavor with a little ground cinnamon or cardamom in place of the vanilla

'/i oz. (10 g) gelatin leaves 2 cups (500 ml) full-cream milk

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out

27j oz. (70 g) caster sugar

2 fresh bay leaves

17. cups (350 ml) crème fraîche 2 cups fresh berries

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves juice of half a lime

Soak gelatin leaves in cold water to soften (about 2 to 3 minutes).

Heat milk, vanilla, sugar and bruised bay leaves in large saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add gelatin leaves, stirring to melt gelatin; remove from heat to cool slightly. Add creme fraiche, stirring until well combined.

Remove bay leaves and vanilla. Pour mixture into 4 lightly oiled 5-oz. (150-ml) molds; refrigerate at least 4 hours, or until set.

In medium bowl, toss berries with sugar, mint and lime juice; stand 5 minutes.

To remove panna cotta from molds, carefully slide thin knife around the circumference and invert onto serving plates. Serve with berries.

MAKES 8

Preparation 20 minutes Chilling 4 hours

Cook'b tips

Turning desserts out of molds can be a little traumatic. For a successful result, always lightly coat the molds with an oil, such as peanut or almond oil. Instead of running a knife around the edge, dip the mold very briefly into a bowl of hot water.

Chocolate mint cake

This cake sinks slightly in the center during cooling, providing a perfect space for a topping of soft fruit.

9 tablespoons (125 g) unsalted butter S'h oz. (150 g) dark chocolate (at least 70

percent cocoa), broken Into pieces handful finely chopped fresh mint or chocolate mint leaves (or 1 teaspoon peppermint extract) 6 large eggs, separated pinch of salt

'(j cup (BO g) caster sugar 1'/i cups (150 g) ground almonds 1 lb. (450 g) soft berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries or raspberries) confectioner's sugar, for dusting whipped cream, to serve

1 Preheat oven to 340°F (170°C). Grease 8-in. (20-cm) springform cake tin; line base with baking paper.

2 Melt butter and chocolate in heatproof medium bowl over saucepan of just simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir through mint leaves.

3 In medium bowl, whisk egg whites with pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, whisking well after each addition until just dissolved.

■> Beat egg yolks in large bowl, and stir through ground almonds. Pour in cooled chocolate mixture; mix well. Using metal spoon, fold in 2 large spoonfuls of egg white to lighten mixture, then carefully and quickly fold in the remainder. Do not overwork.

5 Pour mixture into prepared tin. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until cake is well risen and just firm to the touch. Cool ln tin 15 minutes before turning out onto wire rack. Cake will sink slightly in the center.

6 Decorate cooled cake with fresh berries; dust with sifted confectioner's sugar. Serve with whipped cream.

SERVES 8

Preparation 25 minutes Cooking 35 minutes

Continue reading here: Cupcakes with crystallized flowers

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