Pomegranate Yoghurt Panna Cotta
I absolutely love dessert. Love is probably an understatement now that I think of it…there is a reason I became a pastry chef. I’ve always had a knack for baking, and a slight obsession when it comes to finishing off a meal with a little something sweet, even if its a piece of dark chocolate. I’ve been known to whip up late night banana breads, lemon drizzle loaves and of course granola, only to subject my (thankfully willing) family and friends to its temptation.
When I was conjuring up the idea of a dessert for this feature, I had my mind (and stomach) set on pannacotta. Traditionally made with a cream base, I set out to the challenge of making a slightly healthier version using yoghurt. I’m not going to lie, it took several attempts, a couple kitchen disasters, and kilos of different types of yoghurt to get it just right. In the end, I realized the best texture came from a mix of whole milk and full fat plain yoghurt. The texture was perfect. It was creamy yet light and combined with the crunchy crumble and tart syrup, it would be the perfect sweet ending to any dinner. The nice part about this particular dessert is that it has to be made ahead, so it’s a no stress pudding that will be sure to impress any guest.
By request, I was asked to share the recipe that was printed in Jamie Oliver Magazine a couple months back, so here it is!
3.5 leaves of gelatin
250ml whole milk
50g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds removed
250g plain natural yoghurt
50g pomegranate seeds
200 ml pomegranate juice
2 tsp. cornflour
10g caster sugar
10g ground almonds
10g cold butter
To make the pannacotta, first soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for at least 5 minutes, until they have bloomed and are soft to the touch.
Meanwhile, gently heat the milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a low- medium heat until it begins to steam. Take off the heat, squeeze the excess water out of the gelatin and add to the milk, whisking until dissolved. Add the yoghurt to the pan and whisk again until combined. Fill four 160ml dariole moulds three- quarters of the way up and refrigerate overnight to set.
For the syrup, combine the sugar and pomegranate juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and cook for 6-8 minutes, until the mixture has reduced by a third. In a small bowl, combine the cornflour with a couple of tablespoons of the pomegranate liquid, whisking to combine. Return to the pan and whisk over a low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Allow to cool completely.
To make your crumble, preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Combine the butter, ground almonds, flour, and butter in a small bowl. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until it resembles crumbs. Spread it over a parchment lined baking tray and pop in the oven for 10 minutes. Give it a stir now and then, until deep golden and crisp. Set aside to cool.
To serve the pannacotta, remove them from the moulds. To do this, dip the base of the mould in warm water for 3 seconds while gently pressing with your fingers. This may take a couple of attempts. Invert the mould over your hand until it has come free, and then carefully transfer to a plate.
Garnish each with a couple spoonfuls of the syrup, the crumble, and a pinch of pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.