Most fruits can be made into a granita, but the plum’s inherent tartness and high sugar content make them especially ideal, and the perfect companion to a smooth sweet panna cotta. A exotic dessert with a British homemade twist, this recipe is so easy to prepare beforehand and whip out of the fridge at the drop of a hat. (Serves 6)
- 115g (4oz/cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 500g (1lb 2oz) blood plums, chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1tbsp finely shredded mint
- 3x 5g (0.2oz.) gelatine leaves
- 500ml (17fl.oz./2 cups) buttermilk
- 250ml (8fl.oz./1 cup) cream
- 1 mint sprig
- 80g (2oz/ 1/3cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
- For the panna cotta, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes, or until softened. Remove from the water and squeeze gently to remove excess liquid before using.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the buttermilk, cream, mint, sugar and vanilla to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before adding the gelatine and stirring until dissolved. Strain the liquid then pour into six 125 ml (4 oz/1⁄2 cup) serving glasses. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
- For the granita, combine the caster sugar with 125 ml (4 oz/1⁄2 cup) water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until dissolved. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2–3 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Put the plums and lemon juice in a food processor and purée until smooth. Strain through a fine- mesh sieve then combine with 100 ml (31⁄2 oz) of the cooled sugar syrup and 100 ml (31⁄2 oz) water. Pour into a deep rectangular tray and put in the freezer. Every hour, remove the tray from the freezer and scrape into flakes using a fork. Continue until the granita is fluffy and completely frozen. Store in the freezer for up to 3 days, until required.
- Stir the shredded mint through the granita, and serve with the panna cottas.
Harvest: 180 Recipes Through the Seasons by Emilie Guelpa (Hardie Grant, £15) Photography © Emilie Guelpa