Dessert Duties

I can’t deny I was a wee bit excited to get my invite to last night’s dinner party. Aside from getting to spend time with an amazing bunch of people, it meant I had the perfect opportunity to test out a new dessert that I’ve been thinking about for the past week. Nothing like a captive audience right! As it was sure to be a three course extravaganza (props to chef Erin for her amazing salmon noodle dish, it was spectacular!) with plenty of booze, I figured we needed something fairly fresh and light to finish things off.

With summer coming, so are the stone fruits and last week I had the pleasure of sampling my first nectarines of the season. Man, were they good! Seriously divine in fact. So with nectarines well and truly on my mind, I knew they or some other amazing stone fruit had to play a part.

But what to make? Champagne fruit jellies? Poached nectarines? Peach tart? Hmmm, all tasty options but none of them felt quite right. Insert light bulb moment early Saturday morning and just in the nick of time – panna cotta! Nectarine and white chocolate panna cotta to be exact.

Whether it was my er, semi-hangover or just a moment of culinary insanity, I figured that the fact I had never made panna cotta before was a mere formality. That was until I got them into the fridge, looked at the time and realised if these babies didn’t set in three hours, I was screwed! Plan B I hear you ask? Don’t make me laugh. Plan B’s are for people who are, you know, organised.  Or lack self-confidence, I can’t decide which… Thankfully Plan A worked a treat and with some careful packing, safely made it to our dinner party destination. They were a big hit too. At least I think they were… I’m not going to lie, the champagne had well and truly been flowing by that stage!

Nectarine and white chocolate panna cotta (Serves about 8)

  • 300 ml pure cream
  • 125 ml milk
  • 180 gm white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 nectarines, 3 with skins peeled and 1 sliced
  • 1 mango
  • 3 tsp powdered gelatine
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Blueberries, mint and macadamia nuts, to garnish
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, sugar and 90 gm of the white chocolate. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the chocolate has melted.
  2. In a food processor, blend 3 of the nectarines and the flesh of the mango until smooth. You will need about 2 1/2 cups of puree for the recipe.
  3. Combine the gelatine with the cold water and set aside for about 5 minutes. Heat in a microwave on high for about 30 seconds until most of the gelatine has dissolved. Set aside for another 5 minutes until all the gelatine has dissolved.
  4. Whisk the cream mixture, fruit puree and gelatine together until well combined. Pour into 3/4 cup capacity glasses and leave to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  5. To make the chocolate curls, melt the remaining white chocolate and using an upturned cookie tray, thinly spread the chocolate over the base using a palatte knife. Set in the fridge until firm. Once set, run the palate knife down the tray, creating chocolate curls (and if you’re anything like me, a hell of a lot of chocolate flakes!).
  6. Garnish the panna cotta with the additional nectarine slices (I like to grill mine lightly), blueberries, mint, macadamia nuts and chocolate curls and serve immediately.