Monday, January 21, 2013

Peach Melba Panna Cotta

peach melba panna cotta

With Australia Day coming up next weekend, I thought I'd start the celebrations early with a cute new take on an Aussie dessert. Simple and unfussy but beautiful and summery, I think these would be the perfect sweet ending to a long weekend picnic or backyard BBQ!

The Peach Melba was created in the late 1800's at a dinner party to honour singer Australian singer Nellie Melba and has since become a classic dessert. Typically containing peaches, raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream, I wanted to use these flavours (two of my absolute favourite summer fruits!) in a pretty panna cotta.

I started with a classic vanilla bean panna cotta, the perfect blank slate for any number of other flavours. The top layer is a sunny peach jelly that I again kept quite simple with just a little lime juice and honey to allow the flavour of the peaches to really shine. You may need to add more or less sweetness depending on how ripe your peaches are. On top, just a few raspberries for a slightly tart contrast to the sweet and creamy dessert. When you get a little bit of everything in the one spoonful, it's delicious.

peach melba panna cotta

I thought the jars were a nice way to display this pretty dessert, and you can just put on the lids to make them perfectly portable for your picnic. Of course you could also make these in ramekins and turn them out onto a serving plate for a more elegant presentation. If you do this I'd reverse the order of the recipe below so your peach jelly layer is made first and is on the top when unmoulded.

I know I posted a peach recipe last week, but they are just fantastic at the moment and I want to make the most of them while their short season lasts! If you feel the same as I do, check out this post with lots more great ways to use peaches from the archives and also some of my favourite blogs. Hopefully if time permits, I'll be back later in the week with another great Aussie recipe!

peach melba panna cotta
Peach Melba Panna Cotta
Makes 6


Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta (adapted from Taste.com.au)
  • 200ml thickened cream
  • 200ml full cream milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons gelatine
  • Fresh raspberries, to serve
Peach Jelly
  • 3 ripe yellow peaches
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (you may need to use more or less depending on how sweet your peaches are)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons gelatine
For the panna cotta, place the cream and milk in a saucepan. Use a small sharp knife to split the vanilla bean lengthways, then scrape the seeds from inside the bean. Add the seeds and bean to the saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes. Discard bean from cream mixture. Add sugar and return to a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until sugar dissolves.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatine over 2 tablespoons of water and allow to sit for a few minutes. Whisk into cream mixture until incorporated. Pour mixture evenly into six ramekins or small jars. Refrigerate until set (at least 4 hours or overnight).

For the peach jelly, first peel them by bringing a pot of water to a boil (enough water to cover the fruits). Meanwhile set aside a large bowl of iced water. With a paring knife, score the bottom of the nectarines with a small cross. When the water has boiled, turn off the heat and add the fruits making sure it’s submerged. Blanch for about 40 seconds (depends on how ripe it is). Remove with slotted spoon and immediately plunge in bowl of ice water and leave for about 20 seconds to stop it from cooking. Remove the loosened skins, remove the stone and cut into thick wedges.

Make a puree by placing the peaches into a food processor or blender and pulse until liquid. Strain into a saucepan and turn onto low heat. Add water, sugar to taste, honey and lime juice and stir until mixture is heated through and sugar is dissolved. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatine over 1 tablespoon water and allow to sit for a few minutes. Whisk into peach mixture, strain into a jug and then pour on top of set panna cotta layer. Refrigerate for at 2-3 hours or until set. Serve with fresh raspberries.

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