Blackberry Compote

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My boyfriend and I collected a huge quantity of blackberries a few weekends ago and were itching to make them into delicious edibles. After looking through many recipe books we settled on a simple compote using plums picked fresh from his family’s plum tree. I included the panna cotta recipe just as a serving idea (we just ate ours with yogurt). The compote recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s Great British Food and the panna cotta recipe is taken from Nigella Lawson’s Nigelissima. The original compote recipe was just fruit and sugar but we decided to spice things up and introduce more intense flavours using a bay leaf and some peppercorns; it worked fantastically! I would suggest to put the spices in a muslin cloth to avoid eating peppercorns!

Blackberry and Plum Compote with Vanilla Panna Cotta

For the panna cotta

  • 75 ml full fat milk
  • 425ml double cream
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 leaves fine-leaf gelatine

For the compote

  • 200g blackberries
  • 200g plums, destoned and chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • bay leaf
  • tsp peppercorns
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar

4 x 125ml metal dariole moulds

Pour milk and cream into a saucepan and stir in the sugar. Remove the seeds from the vanilla pod and add them, plus the emptied-out pod, to the saucepan, and put it over a low heat.

While this is gently heating and coming to the boil, put the 2 leaves of gelatine into a shallow dish and cover them fully with cold water to soften. The softening should take about 3 minutes, so go back on the stove while the leaves sit and soak.

When the saucepan mixture us about to come to a boil take the pan off the heat, remove the vanilla pod and pour about 250ml of the mixture into a heatproof jug.

Check that the gelatine feels soft then squeeze out the leaves so that the excess cold water falls back into the soaking dish and drop the squeezed-out leaves into the jug with its cupful of liquid, whisking as you go.

Once the gelatine has dissolved in the jug, pour the jugful back into the saucepan, which is still off the heat, whisking the pan as you do so, and then pour all of the mixture back into the jug, before pouring it into the pots, giving a gentle whisk to the jug’s contents between each pour. Transfer to the fridge for at least 6 hours.

To unmould easily, dip the bottom of each pot into some just-boiled water, one at at a time, and hold there for about 8 seconds and let them stand out of the water for another few seconds, before wiping off the water and putting a small side plate on top; then upturn the pot and let the panna cotta drop onto the plate.

For the compote: put the blackberries and plums into a pan on a medium to high heat. Add 2-3 tbsp of sugar and the other ingredients to flavour the compote. Put the lid on and simmer for around 5 minutes or until the fruit is lightly cooked but still holding its shape. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Serve on top of the panna cotta.


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