Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vanilla & Honey Panna Cotta with Poached Cape Gooseberries

Cape gooseberries, these are probably one of the most elegant looking berries I’ve seen, they come wearing capes :D (they are in a papery husk that looks like a cape) that gives them their name. Also known as physalis, are closely related to tomatillos and other plants such as tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes. It is full of tiny seeds and when ripe, it is very bright yellow. A few years ago my regular fruit vendor handed a few of these curious looking berries for me to taste, knowing my love for berries, he thought I might want to buy these new berries that he had got. I picked one, peeled off the cover, wiped it clean and put one in my mouth… I instantly wanted to spit it out :).. instead I somehow managed to swallow it and said a polite ‘will buy it later’ to the fruit vendor and returned home. I guess my inexperienced taste buds didn’t appreciate the unusual tart flavour of these fruits. Since then while buying fruits I would give these gooseberries a pass…because of my last ‘not so nice’ experience with them. But a few weeks back, me and R were at the market and a fruit vendor handed a gooseberry to R and told him to taste it, claiming that they were very tasty and that he would love them. As R took a bite into the berry I was waiting for that ‘OO that’s too sour’ expression on his face but to my surprise he turned to me and said ‘it tastes good, you should buy some’ Feeling adventurous I decided to give them a second try… while searching for a recipe I came across a Panna Cotta recipe from canella et vanilla and decided to make these.

I made a honey and vanilla Panna Cotta and served sugar poached Gooseberries on top, garnished with some crushed pistachio.

Vanilla & Honey Panna Cotta

I made these in mini glass jars, you can use small glasses or cups

       2 cups Heavy Cream
½ cup Sugar
1 Vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
3 sheets Gelatin
½ cup Milk
¼ cup good-quality Honey (I used forest Clover Honey)

·       In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream, milk, sugar and vanilla bean until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat.
·       In the meantime, soak the gelatin in ice water for 5 minutes. Squeeze out excess water and add the gelatin to the hot cream. Whisk to dissolve. Pour this into a clean bowl and let it cool for 5 minutes.
·       Spoon about 1 Tbs of honey into each glass jar. Pop it in the freezer for a few minutes so that the honey sets a little. Remove from the freezer and then pour the panna cotta on top and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until completely set.

Poached Gooseberries

      1 cups water
1/2  Cup Sugar
1 Cup Cape Gooseberries shell removed

·       In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar together over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add the gooseberries and cook for 2 minutes or until they start to lightly pop. Spoon them out of the syrup and cool them slightly.

Serve them on top of the panna cotta.

I am going to buy the gooseberries again J


  1. Such gorgeous pictures, Abhilasha! Pana cotta is actually so simple to prepare, I ought to try it out myself. I didn't know these were called cape gooseberries...I thought they were called seabuckthorn or something like that.Lovely recipe, looks so fresh and inviting!

    1. Thank you Meenakshi! Panna Cotta is really very simple and versatile, should definitely give it a try :) Seabuck thorn look quite similar to cape gooseberries but don't have this papery cover..

  2. Hi! So glad to have found ur blog. love the pictures in this post :)

  3. Hi! Thank you Poonam. Saw you blog..I am happy to have come across someone who share my love for food too! You posts are amazing :)

  4. Hi. Love your post. I would like to try this recipe. Can I use powdered gelatin instead? If yes, then in hoe much qty?

  5. Hi. This recipe looks absolutely delicious. I am going to try this . just wanted to ask you can i use powdered gelatin instead? If yes then in what quantity?

    1. Hi Hariti, absolutely you can use powdered gelatin instead (the vegetarian version also). You can replace one leveled teaspoon of gelatin powder for each sheet of gelatin in the recipe. :)