It’s getting warmer and warmer outside here in Melbourne, and I’m so excited to see berries in the shops and to be able to bake with summer fruit again!
As much as I love a beautiful, homemade apple pie, the bleak autumn and winter months where the only fruit on offer are dull-coloured apples or pears really stifle my baking creativity.
Spring really makes me want to rip open the curtains (literally and figuratively), get outside, get excited and play.
I want to play in the sun, go for long walks, sit outside at cafe’s, drink summer cocktails on the balcony and bake light, fruity, colourful desserts to eat after a lazy barbecue on balmy evenings.
That’s exactly how this tart was enjoyed. Mr Man’s very pregnant sister invited us over for a barbecue, and told me that she was craving panna cotta.
And when a pregnant woman tells you she’s craving something, you do whatever you can to get it to her.
The weather was beautiful and sunny that weekend, so I decided to brighten up the panna cotta with lime and berries, rather than making (my secret favourite) coffee caramel recipe. When I was trying to figure out how to transport a panna cotta to a dinner, the idea of a tart was born.
It was huge hit, everyone loved it. The base is buttery, crunchy and has a lovely balance of salty-sweet. The panna cotta is creamy, a little zesty and perfectly set. And the berries add a refreshing vibrancy to the whole thing. Some even said it was one of the best desserts I’d made them. Hope you love it too. X
- FOR THE BASE:
- 300g graham crackers or digestive biscuits
- 38g caster (superfine) sugar
- 30g milk powder
- 5g sea salt
- 80g unsalted butter, melted
- 80g cream
- FOR THE PANNA COTTA:
- 3 leaves gold strength gelatin (or 1¼ tsp powdered gelatin)
- 165ml milk (2/3 cup)
- 70g caster (superfine) sugar (5 tbsp)
- 500ml heavy cream (2 cups)
- Pinch of salt
- Zest of 1 lime, finely grated
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- 1 punnet strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
- 1 punnet blueberries, washed
- Zest of 1 lime, grated in long strips (optional)
- Lightly grease or butter an 8 inch tart tin with removable base.
- To make the base, blitz the cookies in a food processor to make a fine crumb. Combine with the sugar, milk powder and salt in a medium bowl.
- Whisk the cream into the melted butter and add to the dry ingredients, mixing to combine.
- Press the mixture evenly into the base and sides of the tin. Refrigerate.
- To make the panna cotta, fill a medium bowl with cold water and place the gelatin leaves inside to bloom (soften). If you're using powdered gelatin, pour 2½ tbsp water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Allow this to stand and absorb.
- Pour the milk and sugar into a saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the cream and salt and put the saucepan over a low heat.
- Cook until it is just under the boil (when bubbles start to appear around the edges).
- Remove the pan from the heat. Squeeze the gelatin leaves to remove the excess water and add to the cream mixture, stirring until the leaves dissolve. If you're using powdered gelatin, add the mixture and gently whisk it in until it dissolves. Add the lime zest and stir to combine.
- Set the mixture aside to cool down for an hour or so, then pour it into the tart shell.
- Refrigerate until set, at least four hours, preferably overnight.
- To decorate the tart, top with the prepared berries just before serving. Optionally, top with some more lime zest.
- Serves 8 - 10. Keep refrigerated.
- Happy baking!