A delicious Italian set cream dessert scented with fresh basil leaves and served with vanilla shortbread and fresh strawberries.
For the panna cotta: soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft. Pick and wash the basil leaves. Add the milk, cream and the sugar to a saucepan. As this mixture comes up to the boil, add the basil leaves. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for a couple of minutes.
Place the mixture in a blender and blitz until smooth. Add the softened gelatine leaves to the mixture and stir to dissolve. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and then pour into individual moulds. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For the vanilla shortbread: preheat the oven to 180'C.
Dice the butter. Split the vanilla pods and scrape out the seeds with the point of a knife.
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a ball begins to form. Do not overwork in the food processor. Remove and finish kneading by hand until you have a firm ball of dough. Roll the pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove and cut into shapes while the shortbread is still soft. Return to the oven and bake for a further 3 minutes. When golden brown on the edges and firm in the middle, sprinkle with the caster sugar whilst still hot and then allow to cool.
For the strawberries: wash the strawberries and remove the stalks. Cut into quarters, sprinkle with sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Place a spoonful of strawberries on the top of each set panna cotta.
Serve the shortbread biscuits alongside the panna cottas.
«If you need to chill your panna cotta really quickly, sit the moulds in a tray filled with ice and refrigerate.»