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Recipe: Baileys and milk chocolate truffle panna cotta

PUBLISHED: 13:27 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:27 21 February 2018

Baileys panna cotta by Charlotte Smith- Jarvis. .    SARAH LUCY BROWN

Baileys panna cotta by Charlotte Smith- Jarvis. . SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Make our perfectly wobbly boozy dessert this weekend.

Food and pleasure go hand in hand for me. And no, I don’t mean in a 9 ½ Weeks kind of way!

It’s just, there are so many stresses in day to day life, that I think food should be something to look forward to and relish.

You’ll never catch me ‘punishing’ myself for eating a slice of cake, or crying over a plate of chips because they might add a little extra wobble to my hips. Life’s too short. Of course, we should all employ a modicum of self-control when it comes to eating, but let’s enjoy our food. Let’s sit down at a proper table, away from the telly and devices, and take joy in every single mouthful.

I can think of no food that exemplifies the pleasure of eating better than the Italian panna cotta.

Whenever I review a restaurant and order this dessert, I’m looking for one thing – a sexy little wobble.

Because that’s exactly what a panna cotta should have. Its curvaceous form should dance a jig on the plate, yield beautifully under the weight of a spoon, and dissolve weightlessly in the mouth.

The best version I’ve ever eaten was at a fantastic little pizza restaurant in Valetta (Malta) called Margo’s (you absolutely have to go here if head to Malta on holiday).

It was pitched on the menu as The Best Panna Cotta in the World. I can’t claim to have eaten panna cotta at every restaurant on the planet (now that would be a great job), but I think as perfection goes, theirs had it all. There was, of course, that delightful little wobble, but also the flavour was dreamy, being infused with lavender, rose petals, bay leaves and Madagascan vanilla. I can still taste it in my mind to this day.

I often like to recreate their version at home, but my family’s favourite incantation is my Bailey’s panna cotta, with a hidden treasure of milk chocolate truffle at its heart.

Over Christmas we brought way too much Irish liqueur (as usual) and it’s at this time of year that I normally bring out this recipe to use up the dregs from the fridge.

Set desserts can strike fear into the hearts of even confident cooks, but this is a tried and tested recipe, and as long as you follow the method, you’ll end up with something lovely and wibbly for pud after Sunday lunch.

It is rather boozy so this isn’t one for the kids, but if you want to make them their own version, you can swap the Baileys for the same quantity of rich chocolate milkshake.

Baileys and milk chocolate truffle panna cotta

(makes 4)

Ingredients

3 leaves gelatine, soaked for 10 minutes in cold water

250ml Baileys (or other Irish cream liqueur)

250ml double cream

2tbsps caster sugar

For the filling:

150ml double cream

150g milk chocolate

Pinch salt

Method

Make the filling first. Bring the cream to the boil in a pan. Turn off the heat and break in the milk chocolate. Stir until nice and smooth and add a pinch of salt.

Pour into a bowl and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

For the panna cotta warm the Baileys, cream and sugar in a pan until just simmering. Squeeze out the soaked gelatine leaves and add to the pan, stirring thoroughly to dissolve and combine.

Pour evenly into four small round bottomed metal dessert moulds (dariole moulds). Place in the fridge.

Once the chocolate truffle filling has had 30 minutes in the fridge, take it out and scoop out four balls from the mixture, the size of walnuts.

You’ll need to add one of these to each panna cotta after they’ve had 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge and are only just starting to set.

Push a truffle into the centre of each one and leave in the fridge to set for three hours.

When you’re ready to serve, bring a pan of water to the boil and dip each panna cotta in (in its mould) for around 10 seconds. It should then turn out easily onto your plates.

Serve with some lovely fresh berries- and maybe more Baileys!

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