Saffron Roasted Pears with Verjuice Panna Cotta
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Step 1: To make the Verjuice panna cotta, place the Verjuice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 12 to 14 minutes or until reduced to 100 mls. Set aside to cool.
Step 2: Place the cream, milk and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat immediately.
Step 3: Soften the gelatin in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes and squeeze dry. Add the gelatin to the hot cream mixture and stir well, then set aside to cool for 10 minutes (should register 50°C on a sugar thermometer). Add the reduced Verjuice, stirring to mix well.
Step 4: Divide the mixture among 6 x 100 ml moulds. Transfer to a baking tray, cover well with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until set (over night is best, if you have the time).
Step 5: To cook the pears, place the sugar, Verjuice, sherry, saffron, and water in a wide-based saucepan just large enough to accommodate the pears, then bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, add the chopped pear and peelings of the 6 pears and cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently boil for 20 minutes until it becomes syrupy without reducing the volume too much.
Step 6: Gently slip the whole pears into the syrup, then cover with a round of baking paper and the lid and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a skewer. The ripeness of the pears will have a huge impact on this timing.
Step 7: Leave the pears to cool for 10 minutes in the syrup, then carefully transfer to a plate. Strain the syrup through a fine meshed sieve into a saucepan and discard the solids, then bring the syrup to the boil over a high heat and simmer until it has reduced by half.
Step 8: Transfer one cup of syrup to a small saucepan (reserving the remaining syrup for serving), then simmer over a medium heat for 10 minutes or until reduced to a thick honey-like consistency.
Step 9: Preheat a fan forced oven to 220°C.
Step 10: When the pears are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthways. Place the pears cut side up on a baking tray. Using a pastry brush, coat each pear with a little of the reduced syrup, then roast, brushing the pears with the reduced syrup every 10 minutes for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are a wonderful deep golden brown colour, taking care that they don’t burn.
Step 11: To turn out the panna cotta, use your fingertips to gently press around the edge to break the seal. Quickly invert each mould onto a serving plate and the panna cotta should drop out. Divide the saffron roasted pears amongst the plates, spoon over the reserved syrup, then serve.
125ml 1/2 cup milk
55g 1/4 cup caster sugar
4g 2 x 2g gold strength gelatin leaves