Jelly and Custard Panna Cotta – Valentine’s Day Recipe from Ravinder Bhogal

On February 14, we subjected our relationships to the misery of expectation. We feel like a failure if we don’t bring roses. Even worse, if we were single.

I object to the tyranny of Valentine’s Day. Give me an unmissable cup of tea on soft roses and a dinner ready any day. When we express our love by buying chocolates, diamonds, and bras, the only thing we really promote is the economy. And the pressure to perform is more likely to culminate in disappointment, domestic strife, and a dip in our wallets than actual love and bedroom bliss.

I’m not immune to romantic gestures in general. I love candlelight, a garden to walk around in, a fine wine to sip on or a gallery full of beauty – just not on that one-day pressure cooker who trades spontaneity with commitment. It’s the opposite of exciting.

On Valentine’s Day, laugh at me well. It calls for high camp, something more pink than Barbara Kartland. And I can think of nothing better than a culinary jelly set.

The traditional Million Kids party treat is fun and nostalgic, but it can also be sensual, even tickling. It can come in rainbow colors, in the shape of a bunny or Marie Antoinette’s chest; It can be light and refreshing or filled with enough alcohol for a giant fall. Whatever it is, it should oscillate and oscillate for sure.

Making the jelly is quite simple, although you have to be careful with the gelatin to get the perfect shake. Once it’s set, half the fun is unscrewing. Upside-down on a plate, the wobbly gelatinous mass is great to look at – shimmering, translucent and slippery.

These jellies are a fun take on the rhubarb and custard pudding found in old-fashioned pastry shops. Made with the bright stems of rhubarb, as pink as love-filled cheeks, they should give your V-Day meal a very happy ending.

Rhubarb jelly and custard panna cotta

© Aaron Graubart

Makes 8 individual jellies

rhubarb jelly

To prepare the custard panna cotta

  1. Start preparing for the gel a day in advance. Heat the oven to 160°C. Cut the rhubarb into 2 cm lengths and keep the trimmings. Put it in a frying pan and set it aside. Combine sugar, orange zest, rhubarb garnish, and 75 ml of water in a small saucepan to make syrup. Strain the syrup over the rhubarb, cover tightly with tin foil and bake for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. Allow the rhubarb to cool in diameter, then drain and discard the solids.

  2. Soak gelatin in cold water for five minutes. Heat the syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin, add it to the syrup and stir until it dissolves. Add the gin and champagne and check the volume – you should have about 500ml completely. Cool to room temperature. Drain and pour into eight lightly oiled jelly molds, only half filling. Refrigerate for five hours or overnight.

  3. The next day, make the panna cotta. Put the cream, milk, vanilla and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat. Bring the liquid slowly until it thickens. If bubbles on sides, reduce heat and let simmer for five minutes, until reduced by a third. Meanwhile, soak the gelatin flakes in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes.

  4. Lift the pan off the heat. Remove the gelatin sheets from the water and gently squeeze out any excess moisture. Add to cream and stir until dissolved. Let it cool down. Drain and pour the creamy milk mixture over the rhubarb jelly. Refrigerate for four to six hours, until completely set. To serve, carefully dip the molds in hot water and turn to enjoy.

Ravinder Pojal is the Jikoni Chef in London. Follow her on Instagram Tweet embed

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