I keep intending to make posts– I even keep writing half-finished posts– but I’m not doing too well at this point. Today, however, I have a recipe to make note of, and that gives me a more, uh, focused purpose.
This all started with a desire to use up some of the apples I have sitting around at the moment. You’ll notice that the finished product… does not have any apples in it. I blame the caramel. It’s distracting. Caramel usually is.
I used a lot of other people’s recipes for this, and just… pulled them together into my own thing. Maybe one day I’ll be making my own recipes, but… not yet.
Step One: Cake (optional)
This is completely optional; it’s really about whether or not you want to keep your caramel smooth on top, or sprinkle it with cake. Or you could just sprinkle it with salt. Really, it’s totally up to you, but I used cake.
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder (heaped)
- 1/4 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 175c (350f). Butter a baking pan. It doesn’t really matter what size: this is a small cake, and you’re going to crumble it all anyway.
- In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder and then add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally, stir in the milk until the batter is smooth. Poor into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and springs back at the touch. It won’t take long, so do keep an eye on it.
- Set aside to cool. If you really can’t resist, tear off a piece of it and eat it hot – it’s ok!
- Turn cake into crumbs. You’ll probably only need half of it, so put the rest aside. You’ll eat it later, I promise
Step Two: Spiced Apple Panna Cotta
Source: Better Recipes
This needs to be made the day before you want to serve it (or the morning of, I suppose – you need probably 6-8 hours in the fridge, ideally).
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 tsp gelatin
- 1 tsbp cold water
- 1/3 cup greek yoghurt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
- Combine apple juice, cinnamon stick and cloves in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce apple juice to 1/4 cup. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water. Let sit undisturbed.
- Whisk the yogurt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl.
- Add cream, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds to the reduced apple juice in the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, remove the vanilla pod and whisk gelatin into cream to dissolve, then whisk cream mixture into yogurt.
- Pour into martini glasses and refrigerate at least 6-8 hours, until firm.
Step Three: Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 300ml thickened cream
- Sea salt to taste. (Optional)
- Combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Use a wet pastry brush to brush down the side of the pan to dissolve any remaining sugar crystals. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil, uncovered, without stirring, for 10 minutes or until the mixture turns a light golden colour.
- Remove from the heat and use a wooden spoon to stir in the brown sugar. Stir in the cream (it may splutter a little) until well combined. Stir in salt – just keep tasting it until it taste right to you. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until smooth.
- Pour the sauce into a jug of some kind and cool on the bench for at least an hour (covered with cling wrap). Then put it in the fridge.
- Scrape remaining caramel sauce out of the saucepan with leftover bits of cake. Or anything else you have. Trust me, it’s delicious.
Step Four: Put it all together
After your panna cotta has had several hours to set (at least – I recommend 4-5), get the caramel sauce out of the fridge and microwave until it is pourable but not hot.
Pour the sauce over the set panna cotta – fill the glasses most of the way to the top with it.
Sprinkle cake crumbs over the top. If you want the cake to sink in to the caramel, do this right after pouring it on. If you want it to sit on top, put the panna cotta back in the fridge for at least an hour before sprinkling it on. Either way works.
Put it all back in the fridge for another hour or two, and then serve.