Strawberry & vanilla panna cotta

by Ed Smith

Ed Smith’s take on strawberries and cream

This pud is great for dinner parties, or even weekday evening meals as it can be prepared two to three days in advance if you wish. It would also provide a perfect seasonal energy boost for when you’re midway through watching a nervy Murray five setter.


160ml full fat milk
300ml cream
1 vanilla pod
2½ sheets of gelatin
230g strawberries
80g icing sugar

To garnish:
250-300g strawberries
2-3 meringue nests


Bring the milk and ½ the cream to the boil in a milk pan or small saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in ½ lengthways, scrape the seeds into the hot milk and cream, then drop in the pods. Allow to infuse off the heat for 30 mins. Pass the mixture through a sieve and pour back into a clean saucepan.

Soak the gelatine in cold water for 3-5 mins. Reheat the milk and cream for 2 mins. Squeeze out the gelatine and add to the milk and cream. Stir and ensure the gelatin is dissolved. Allow to cool for 20 mins.

Blitz the strawberries in a blender until smooth. Pass through a sieve so that you have a smooth coulis.

Pour the remainder of the cream into a large mixing bowl. Add the coulis and the icing sugar and combine using a balloon whisk—stirring at first, then whisking for 1-2 mins to bring the mix close to the ribbon stage (thicker than before you started to whisk, ideally so that if you drop the mixture back on itself it leaves a ribbon-like trail).

Pour the vanilla, milk and cream mix into the fruit, sugar and cream mix, again mixing with the whisk. Decant into five dariole moulds or ramekins and chill in a fridge for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days (cover with clingfilm if leaving for a while).

Remove from the fridge 20 mins before serving. You may need to loosen the sides by placing the moulds in a tray of warm water, or by using a small cook’s blow torch.

Serve with fresh strawberries and meringue.

Recipe & image: Ed Smith