Worth that extra bit of effort!


  • panna cotta:
  • 70 ml milk
  • 2 vanilla pods (scored and seeds removed)
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 375 ml cream
  • 1.5 leaves of gelatine (soaked in water)
  • 70 g icing sugar
  • roasted rhubarb:
  • 200 g rhubarb (topped and tailed and the skin removed)
  • 2 tblsp caster sugar
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 115 ml white wine
  • shortcake biscuits (makes 10-15 biscuits):
  • 125 g soft unsalted butter
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 170 g plain flour
  • 40 g ground almonds


  • For the shortcake biscuits beat the butter and sugar together well until pale. Add the orange zest and mix through. Add the flour and ground almonds and mix thoroughly into a soft dough. Place a large piece of cling film onto a work surface. Place the dough in the middle of the cling film and wrap the dough to make a sausage shape roughly 5cm/2in in diameter. Roll the cling film like a Christmas cracker to bring the dough into a nice cylindrical shape.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Cut the roll of shortcake dough into slices the thickness of two €2 coins and lay them on the baking parchment and sprinkle them with caster sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden-brown. Leave the shortcake to cool and become crisp.
  • Put the milk, vanilla pods, vanilla seeds, lemon zest and half the cream into a small pan and slowly simmer until reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and stir in the soaked gelatine leaves until dissolved. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and then place in the fridge, stirring occasionally until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  • Whip together the icing sugar with the remaining cream. Mix the two cream mixtures together. Divide into four cylinders 4cm in diameter 4-5cm tall. Line the bottom with cling film if the cylinder is open. Cover and chill for at least an hour or until set.
  • Meanwhile chop the rhubarb into 4cm pieces, sprinkle with the caster sugar and add the ginger, cinnamon and white wine. Place into the oven at 180°C for 10-15 minutes until the rhubarb is cooked. Take out of the oven and leave to let the flavors infuse.
  • To serve, take the cling film off the panna cotta mould and place the mould on top of a shortcake biscuit. Quickly heat the mould with a blow torch, this will allow the panna cotta to be released from the mould. The mould can then be lifted clear (this can also be done by immersing the mould in hot water). Place the biscuit with the panna cotta in the centre of a large bowl. Place the roasted rhubarb around the bottom and drizzle a little bit of the juice around the plate.

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