Salted Caramel & Vanilla Panna Cotta “boiled eggs” for Easter

Easter panna cotta salted caramel egg-5

Happy Easter! I decided to try something a bit different this year that incorporated one of my all time favourite things: salted caramel. Panna cotta is one of the easiest desserts to make, the only tricky bit of this recipe is actually peeling the duck eggs.

I did a few different experiments ranging from the REALLY easy (simple moulded vanilla with salted caramel topping) to the slightly trickier panna cotta with hidden salted caramel  centre. We are very lucky here in Melton Mowbray to be able to get hold of fresh duck eggs very cheaply so I used those as the white shell looks fab. You can use any egg shell though, sadly my chicken doesn’t lay those very pretty pastel blue eggs otherwise I would have used those.

This recipe makes a nice big jar of salted caramel sauce that will keep nicely in your fridge for a couple of weeks, not that it will last that long as it’s highly addictive.

The easiest of the lot is to make a simple vanilla panna cotta:

vanilla and salted caramel panna cotta

Ingredients:

  • 350ml double cream
  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 vanilla pods, split and seeds removed
  • 3 1/2 sheets gelatine (if making the “boiled eggs” use 4 1/2)

Salted Caramel Sauce:

Method:

  1. Pop the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water to soak. Put the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla seeds and pods into a saucepan and heat gently until it simmers then remove from heat.
  2. Squeeze any excess water from the gelatine sheets then stir them into the cream mixture until completely dissolved, remove the vanilla pods, pour into ramekins and put them in the fridge to set for about 2 hours whilst you make the caramel sauce.
  3. Put the butter, sugar and water into a saucepan over a low heat. It’s important that you don’t stir it, simply swirl the pan to mix everything and agitate it every now and again, it will start to bubble and get darker. After about 3 -4  minutes of bubbling very quickly whisk in the double cream and add the salt. Taste and add more salt if needed (If you want a darker caramel let it bubble longer before adding the cream).
  4. Once the panna cottas have set simply turn out onto a plate, top with a dollop of caramel sauce and a few more flakes of vanilla sea salt. If you are having trouble getting the panna cotta out of the ramekin just pop it in a bowl of boiling water for about 10 seconds to loosen the sides and turn out.

Easter panna cotta salted caramel egg-6

Now, if you wanted to make the ‘boiled eggs”:

  1. First you need to remove the tops from your duck eggs, this recipe makes about 12 eggs.
  2. egg cutters

    I picked this little gadget up for 99p and have FINALLY found a use for the bloody thing. It neatly nips the top of a raw egg.

  3. Pour out the raw egg into a bowl and put in the fridge to use for something else (I made kickass duck egg pasta).
  4. Make the caramel sauce and panna cotta mix as above using the extra gelatine sheet.
  5. Pour the panna cotta mixture into each egg (stand them in the egg tray to keep them nice and upright). *If you want a hidden yolk see note below.
  6. Place in the fridge to set then scoop out a small bowl in the centre of the panna cotta and fill with caramel sauce, sprinkle with more vanilla sea salt so it looks like salt and pepper

*OR  if you want a hidden yolk like the egg on the right in the above pic, carefully peel the shell away from the egg turn upside down so you get the vanilla seeds on the top, carefully slice the top off then scoop out a little bowl in the centre, fill with sauce and replace lid.

This also gives me an excuse to pop a clip of a panna cotta wobble I filmed when I made my coconut panna cotta for Domestic Sluttery last year:

Coconut Panna Cotta with Ginger and Lemongrass Syrup

This week marked the start of the Thai New Year so the Domestic Sluttery food writers were all asked to make Thai inspired recipes. I made a Thai style Kedgeree for my savoury post (reckon I will always make it this way from now on but with the addition of some Lapsang Souchong too) but I needed to come up with a dessert for Friday’s post.

I’ve never made a panna cotta before, I don’t really do desserts, I much prefer a cheeseboard at the end of the meal. I have had a few wonderful panna cottas in my time though so I knew I needed to achieve that perfect Boob Wobble if it was to be a success.

I’ve had a pack of gelatine leaves in my pantry for a few weeks now, the intention was to make some lovely Elderflower and spring flower jellies as my collection of glass jelly moulds never actually get used.  Coconut panna cotta it is then.  According to the gelatine instructions I just needed 4 leaves for every pint of liquid, simple enough so off I went to buy coconut milk, coconut cream (because I love it) and regular cream (because I wanted it to feel luxurious in the mouth).

I had received some very sad news the day before and thought I was coping really well (cooking is great for grief, eating not so easy) but I found myself crying in Tescos (they’d changed it all around AGAIN) and so did a rubbish job of shopping and returned home with gin, dried porcini mushrooms and chorizo.  I didn’t even realise I’d forgotten to buy any coconut ingredients until I got home and spoke to Glen (who detests coconut so was pretty happy about the shopping fail but obviously a bit worried about the girl crying in the doorway holding a bottle of gin and some chorizo). I had another cry at being rubbish at shopping.  I wasn’t really crying about that at all, I was crying because Nain, my grandmother, had died and I didn’t know what to do.

Another shopping trip later (this one without tears) and I was ready to go.  I love making up recipes but it’s always a bit nerve-racking when doing things like this (science-y).  The coconut mixture I had made was quite thick so would I need more gelatine? Having worked out how much gelatine I would officially need for a Boob Wobble set I threw it all together. It was only when I was putting the unused gelatine leaves back in the packet that I realised 2 must have been stuck together so I’d added a bit more than I should have.  I wasn’t bothered though as it just seemed right.

I don’t have any Dariole moulds so I just poured the mix into whatever I had: a few espresso cups, an old teacup, a couple of jelly moulds and a cocktail glass.

Once set the first cup was turned out and a nervous Boob Wobble test carried out – perfect. Phew, now to taste them.  I poured over my Ginger and Lemongrass syrup that had been infusing away, and tentatively spooned in.  Wow, it was so silky.  Rich in flavour but light in texture it just melted in my mouth. Yeah, I had a little cry, but this time I think I was also crying because something good had happened for the first time in 24 hours of sadness.

The first one turned out onto a plate ready for the Boob Wobble Test

I was so happy I recorded my Boob Wobble, you can see it HERE.

As I mentioned earlier, Glen hates coconut.  He used to love it but his Mum went through a phase of putting desiccated coconut into EVERYTHING when he was little so he just can’t stand it anymore.  I was so pleased with my new creations though that I made him try a bit.  He loved it! He ate 2 of them straight away.  

So if you want to give my recipe a go, and you really should because it’s really easy and tastes like it wasn’t, then you can see my recipe HEREIt really is stupidly easy to make and as always  you should check out all the other brilliant stuff on Domestic Sluttery!