330. Elderflower Cream with Gooseberries
Elderflower panna cotta with stewed gooseberries - it sounds like a very exotic and complex recipe, no? Something to take the whole day to slave over and then to serve up to a crowd of appreciative guests, all suitable impressed by your culinary prowess.
Well, it's not. And you'll just have to believe me when I tell you how pathetically easy it is to make. I basically made these in the morning, thinking "I may as well get through a recipe", and ate them late that night with my parents, for "a little something with coffee". Who knew it would turn out to be such a spectacular dessert!
The recipe is in the FOODS IN SEASON section of the Basics etc. chapter, and in it, Nigella naturally urges you to use fresh heads of elderflower, and steep them in warm cream to form the base of the dessert. However, I didn't know where to get fresh elderflower, and I couldn't even find elderflower cordial anywhere. Help was at hand though, when my friend DG pointed me in the direction of the Ashbolt Farm website. They're a Tasmanian farm who make, among other things, elderflower concentrate! So I ordered some bottles a few weeks ago, in preparation for making this.
So, to make the creams, you infuse some double cream with fresh elderflowers (or in my case, I used a 1:10 ratio of concentrate to cream), then add some sugar and stir it through. Then you soften some gelatine leaves in water, squeeze them out and whisk them into the cream. Finally, you pour them into clingfilm-lined teacups, and stash them in the fridge.
It took about 15 minutes in total (plus 30 minutes steeping time), and some basic stirring, pouring and whisking.
Here's what they looked like once set. Lining the cups with clingfilm makes them very easy to unmould.
The accompaniment is stewed gooseberries. You may remember that in December I had gooseberries with Uncle Mike and Aunty Helen, but I haven't seen them in the stores recently. I was planning on substituting with kiwi fruit, as they taste pretty similar to gooseberries. However, last week I found these little babies at Coles - kiwiberries! They're like kiwi fruit in the shape of a berry. Perfect!
So I treated these just like Nigella does the gooseberries - cooking them on a medium heat with sugar and water, and then reducing the syrup to thicken it.
Once that's done, you can eat!
The elderflower creams were incredibly beautiful! And the combination of sweet, smooth, softly-set elderflower cream and sharp kiwiberries was fantastic. It was so simple to make, but tasted brilliant. I'd be ecstatic if I received something like this in a restaurant. It was just gorgeous.