To say I have a ‘sweet tooth’ would be an understatement – I once ate 9 Cadbury’s Creme Eggs in one sitting. Mum never shared my affinity for sugar, so growing up she would always encourage me to “have some honey” whenever that sweet craving struck me, much to my frustration. Eventually I learnt to work with the three items that I could always count on Mum to keep in the fridge and cupboards: honey, walnuts and yogurt.
Traditionally this trio of flavours and textures make up the ultimate Kurdish breakfast combination, but I’d rather not limit deliciousness to one meal of the day. Over the years, I have played around with these ingredients to try and create a more sophisticated dessert, which brings me to this recipe! Inspired by a trip to Tuscany with my friends 10 years ago when my mind was blown by my first taste of panna cotta, this recipe is perfect for a dinner party, easy to prepare in advance, and a great display of natural and healthy ingredients. I used my favourite yogurt here from Dorset Dairy Co.
Thanks to Mum for being my helper in the photos. I’ve made this recipe for her a few times now and she approves!
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes (plus at least 1 hour to set)
1 cup (250ml) plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup (250ml) double cream*
1 cup (100g) walnuts
1 sachet (around 4 tsp) unflavoured gelatine (I use Dr Oetker)
4 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp honey (plus extra for drizzling when serving)
1 tsp vanilla extract
*I’ve tried this recipe using the same amount of milk or oat milk instead of cream – both work well but don’t give you that indulgent flavour and texture that double cream gives
1. Put 1 sachet of gelatine and 4 tbsp warm water into a small bowl and mix until partially dissolved (around 1 minute)
2. Put a saucepan on a medium heat and add the double cream, vanilla extract and honey. Stir thoroughly, then add the gelatine mixture and gently fold until the gelatine dissolves fully (around 4 minutes). Remove from the heat.
3. In another bowl, pour in the double cream mixture and let it cool slightly. Then, mix in the natural yogurt until completely incorporated.
4. Split the panna cotta mixture into 4 to 6 ramekins and place in the fridge for at least one hour, until set.
5. Toast your nuts! Place nuts in a dry saucepan and toast for 5-7 minutes. This releases the walnuts’ natural oils and enhances the flavour, plus it brings a bit of warmth to the dish.
6. Turn out each panna cotta mixture onto a plate** and serve with toasted walnuts and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy!
**I used a blow torch on the ramekin here, just a few seconds so there was just enough heat to free the panna cotta from the mould. Alternatively, you could dip the mould in warm/hot water for a few seconds before turning out.