Resolutions are hard - we know! If you need to take a break from all your hard work this month, try out this GINtastic panna cotta recipe from the Gin Baker, featuring this month's Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin. It's not-too-naughty and incredibly delicious, making it the perfect cheat treat.
If like me you have committed yourself to some resolutions you know you are probably never going to keep, you are probably already climbing the walls. I am very envious of those people that can stick to their resolutions, especially those participating in “Dry January”. I however do distance myself from anybody who is refraining from alcohol as I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. After all, January for many (including me) is the most depressing months of them all. Christmas is over, the weather is abysmal and summer feels like a distant memory. Why would you want to make it any worse by abstaining from gin!?
Before I completely digress though, back to the baking. If like me you completely gorged yourself over the holidays, the last thing you are going to want is a heavy, stodgy cake; and that's why I have opted for a slightly lighter dessert this month. Now, this is a dessert that I would usually favour for the warmer months of spring and summer but with its slightly herbaceous flavours, it is perfect to serve year round. This bake has been heavily inspired by the botanicals of this month’s serving from the Craft Gin Club.
You just have to glance at the botanicals in the Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin to realise that this is a gin that is bursting with seasonal flavours. Each bottle varies thanks to the nature of its production; and although built on the base of classic gin botanicals, freshly foraged wild botanicals are added hours after they are gathered to give the gin its unique flavour. January's Gin of the Month embodies many of the seasons with its combination of citrus and slightly spicier notes.
This provided the perfect inspiration for this dessert which combines the slightly herbaceous flavours of the camomile with the citrus orange gin syrup. To make this Camomile and Vanilla Panna Cotta with an Orange Gin Syrup, you will need;
For the Panna Cotta (Serves 4)
450ml of Double Cream
4 tbsp of Caster Sugar
Seeds from one Vanilla Pod
2 tbsp of Dried Camomile or Camomile Tea
2 sheets of Gelatine
4 tbsp of Whole Milk
For the Orange Gin Syrup
115g of Caster Sugar
125ml of Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin
Juice of 2 Oranges
1 Cinnamon Stick
6 Cardamon Pods (Slightly bruised)
2 tsp of Orange Extract
1. Add the double cream, caster sugar, vanilla seeds and dried camomile to a heavy-based saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and then leave the flavours to infused for 20 minutes.
2. In the meantime, place the gelatine in a bowl of cold water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain the gelatine and squeeze out an excess water. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until just warm, then remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine until dissolved. Pour the milk into the infused cream and stir well.
3. Strain the cream mixture through a sieve to remove the dried camomile. If you intend to turn your panna cottas out on a plate, lightly grease your ramekins or moulds with cooking spray, and then use a paper towel to remove most of the oil, leaving only a slight residue. If you are going to serve the panna cottas in the moulds like I have, you can skip this step. Spoon the cream mixture into the moulds and then refrigerate for 6 hours.
4. To make your orange syrup, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and strain the syrup into a bowl and then set aside to cool.
5. When you are ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and invert each panna cotta onto a serving plate, then drizzle the syrup over the top. Alternatively, serve in the moulds by spooning the syrup over the top. Sprinkle with some dried camomile and serve with some slices of orange.