Wattleseed Panna Cotta

I love wattleseed. A natural taste combination of coffee, chocolate and hazelnut – how can that not be a good thing? The only problem has been trying to get it in the UK. Sure, you can order from overseas, but at eye-watering prices and doubtful delivery; or maybe I just haven’t been looking in the right places. Be that as it may, I found some at my new favourite online spice store* and could not wait to use it in something.

But what?

Spices yay!

I have very fond memories of an astonishingly good wattleseed creme brulee that my sibs came up with once upon a time. Mmm.. and really nothing to distract from the wattleseed flavour. Ideal! But I’m downright afraid of creme brulee – it requires custard and double boilers and shallow pans of water in the oven. Something simpler. Panna cotta?

I’ve never made panna cotta; I really haven’t encountered it much at all, in fact, and the idea of using gelatine has always been somehow intimidating. I’m not sure why; a brief experiment with it some years ago did not end well – mostly because it smelled awful and put me right off. However, I wanted to make something that would really showcase the wattleseed flavour and panna cotta seemed right. So, an experiment. Here’s what I came up with.


1 cup double cream
1/2 cup milk
40g caster sugar
3 leaves gelatine*
3 tsp ground wattleseed

You will need something to set the dessert in. I used 4 ramekins.
* The gelatine I used specifies 4 leaves per 1 pint liquid (soft set).


1. Put the gelatine leaves into a shallow bowl and cover with cold water.
2. Put the cream, milk, sugar and wattleseed in a small saucepan and heat, stirring, to near boiling.

3. Strain the infused cream into a jug. Wattleseed is like coffee grounds; you really don’t want it in your smooth, silky dessert. Strain through a fine sieve to leave a few flecks in the cream; strain through muslin to remove it all. (Note: I failed to strain this first attempt properly, because I was distracted being anxious about the gelatine. My panna cotta has sediment. It’s not awful, but I’ve never been one for crunching on coffee beans and would prefer it grounds-free – your mileage may vary.)
4. The gelatine should have become all soft and wobbly by now. Fish it out and stir into the hot cream, it should dissolve nicely.
5a. Optional: if you want to unmould the desserts later, oil the ramekins with flavourless oil!
5. Pour the mixture into ramekins, and let cool. When cold enough, pop into the fridge. Let set for minimum of 3 hours.
6. To serve, if unmoulding then run a knife round the ramekin and upend on to a plate. Otherwise, just provide a spoon!

(* http://www.thespicery.com)


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