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Hibiscus pannacotta with floating islands and strawberries

This is a great combination, but the pannacotta is also delicious on its own with strawberries or ice cream

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05 AUGUST 2009

Ingredients (Serves 8)

Hibiscus pannacotta

  • 400ml whipping cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 70g sugar
  • 15g dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 1/2 leaves gelatin Floating islands
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 350ml milk (for poaching)

Hibiscus syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers
  • 100g caster sugar

Garnish
  • 6 strawberries per serving
  • sprigs of lemon thyme

Method

To make the hibiscus pannacotta mix together the cream, milk, sugar and hibiscus flowers. Heat over a medium flame until just boiling. Take off the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.

Soak the gelatin in cold water for 3/4 minutes until soft, then squeeze out the excess moisture. Mix the gelatin into the hibiscus/cream mix while it is still hot and pass through a sieve. Keep the liquid and discard the flowers.

Take 8 individual non-stick ramekins or one large non-stick mould. If you don't have non-stick dishes, grease them lightly. Pour in the pannacotta mixture and leave to set in the fridge until firm, about 12 hours.

For the hibiscus syrup boil the hibiscus flowers and sugar with 200ml of water until the mixture thickens and just coats the back of a spoon. Leave it to cool, it will thicken further.

For the floating islands whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar and whisk until stiff. Fold in the lemon zest.

Heat the milk in a small pan. Drop tablespoons of egg white into the hot milk, turning to coat, and cook them gently for 12 minutes. You will need 8 islands. Gently remove the islands with a slotted spoon, drain and set aside until you are ready to serve.

To serve, unmould the pannacotta and place it in the centre of the plate. Place a floating island on top of the pannacotta and add fresh strawberries and hibiscus syrup. Garnish with a sprig of lemon thyme.

The unique flavour of the hibiscus is fantastic with summer fruits. Buy dried hibiscus flowers from spice shops or on the internet.

From Nature to Plate by Tom Kitchin published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson