This delicious combination of cream, vanilla, chocolate, caramel and hazelnuts is very good indeed.

Ingredients

The set panna cotta and the chocolate sauce will keep perfectly in the fridge for a couple of days, though keep them covered to preserve the delicate flavours.

The key to a good panna cotta is that it is just barely set and wobbles as you bring it to the table. If the cream is too set, the delicate and trembling charm of the dish is lost.

Serves 6–8

  • 100g unskinned hazelnuts
  • 600ml cream
  • 35g caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons powdered gelatine
  • 2 tablespoons water

To serve

  • chocolate and caramel sauce

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the hazelnuts on a roasting tray and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the nuts are roasted to a rich golden colour and the skins are starting to lift.
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Place the nuts in a clean towel and rub off as many of the skins as possible. Discard the skins. Chop the nuts coarsely and add to the cream.
  4. Bring the cream and nuts to a shivering heat and remove from the heat immediately. Allow to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  5. The next day, use a sieve to strain the nuts out of the cream, pressing well to extract as much of the cream as possible. Reserve the nuts for later.
  6. Place the cream in a saucepan and add the sugar and vanilla extract. Place on a low heat to dissolve the sugar. The cream must not boil – it should just be shivering on the surface. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, though it does not need to get completely cold.
  7. Measure the gelatine into a Pyrex jug or bowl. Add the water and stir very gently to mix. Allow to sit for a few minutes to ‘sponge’. This term will become clear when you see the sponge-like appearance of the gelatine.
  8. Place the bowl in a saucepan of barely simmering water and allow it to heat to dissolve the gelatine to a completely clear liquid.
  9. Pour the cream onto the gelatine while whisking continuously and mix well.
  10. Place the mixture in your serving dish or dishes of choice and refrigerate until set. If you wish to turn out the panna cottas when serving, you will need to oil the receptacles with a tasteless oil such as sunflower or grapeseed before filling.
  11. Refrigerate the panna cotta to set, allowing 4 hours or overnight if you wish. Serve the panna cotta with the chocolate and caramel sauce.