For the second installment of our three-part series on rhubarb, we offer you the key to tender, meltingly soft rhubarb that doesn’t collapse into a mush – a brief roast in a hot oven. And to accompany this culinary triumph, a decadent honey and yogurt panna cotta and fresh, gem-like pomegranate seeds – for a festive touch.
Honey Yogurt Panna Cotta with Roasted Rhubarb and Pomegranate
Serves 6 to 8 depending on the size of ramekins or cups you use
For the Panna Cotta
7 sheets gelatin (see note)
2-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
3/4 cup honey
1-1/2 cups Greek yoghurt
For the Roast Rhubarb
1pound rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 tablespoons orange juice
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
4 tablespoons cleaned, fresh pomegranate seeds
- Make the panna cotta: Soak the gelatin leaves in a large bowl of water for 4 to 5 minutes until softened. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and leave to cool for a few minutes. Squeeze out all the water from the gelatin leaves and add to the very warm cream. Stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved
- In a large bowl combine the honey and the yogurt and whisk until smooth, then gradually whisk in the cream and gelatin mix. Pour the mixture into 6 to 8 lightly oiled cups or ramekins. Arrange on a tray or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until set.
- Roast the rhubarb: Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the rhubarb in a roasting dish in a single layer, and add all the remaining ingredients, except the pomegranate seeds. Stir to combine, cover with foil and roast for 25 to 30 mins until the rhubarb chunks are very tender all the way through but not mushy. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes then stir in the pomegranate seeds.
- Remove the panna cotta from the fridge 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, unless it’s a really hot day, in which case leave them in there until the moment you want to eat them. Have a bowl with warm water ready. To turn out the panna cotta, press a clean finger against the panna cotta along the inside of the ramekins or cups to release them from the edge. Then dip the base of a ramekin or cup in the warm water just until the water reaches 3/4 of the way up the dish for about 5 seconds. Next, invert the ramekin or cup onto the serving plate and and shake to loosen the panna cotta which should slip out onto the plate. Repeat with the other ramekins or cups. if the panna cotta doesn’t release easily, use slightly warmer water to dip the dishes into, but not too warm or hot, or else the panna cotta will melt. Spoon the rhubarb and pomegranate alongside the panna cotta and serve immediately.
Note: If you can only find gelatin powder and not leaves, substitute the leaves for 5 teaspoons of gelatin powder. To use, sprinkle the gelatin powder over 3 tablespoon of cold water in a large bowl; let stand until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the very warm cream and vanilla mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Proceed as above, from step 2 onwards.