Recipe: Vanilla Pannacotta with rhubarb 'crumble'

This simple yet stunning dish takes a bit of time but it's definitely worth it. It's my modern take on the classic crumble and uses one of my favourite British products in rhubarb.  Great for wowing guests; it's a good one for entertaining as most of the work can be done in advance.

300g       Caster sugar
675ml    Double cream
Tsp         Vanilla essence
4              Gelatine leaves
300g       Rhubarb, trimmed to equal batons (keep the scraps)
80g         Plain flour
50g         Caster sugar
20g         Brown sugar
55g         Butter
25g         Mint

1)            Soak gelatine in cold water
2)            Bring cream, sugar and vanilla to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
3)            Bring off the boil and add gelatine, whisking to dissolve.
4)            Pour into moulds and refrigerate.
5)            Put all ingredients in a blender and blitz to a fine crumb
6)            Press crumb together into 2cm cubes and freeze for 1 hour until solid
7)            Make a simple syrup with equal quantities of sugar and water, whisking on a medium heat until dissolved.   Allow to cool to blood temperature then, taking a small amount, get your mini blender and blitz the mint with some on the syrup, adding until you reach a syrupy consistency.  Set aside.
8)            Blitz the cubes then press onto a baking mat evenly to about a 5mm thickness then bake in the oven for around 7 minutes.
9)            Take out and cut with a rectangular cutter whilst still pliable.  Then bake again for 3-4 mins until golden brown
10)          Cool on a cooling wire.
11)          Lastly, reheat the stock syrup, adding the rhubarb scraps (this adds a nice colour to the rhubarb) bring to the boil and remove the scraps.  Turn the heat down as low as possible and  add the rhubarb batons and cover with cling film. Poach for 5-7 mins until tender and remove.
12) Dip the pannacottas in boiling water for a few seconds and remove from mould.  Place on the plate.
13) Stack up a few pieces of the rhubarb and add the crumble biscuit on top.  Drizzle with the mint oil and serve.

Peter suggests...

I'm off East for this one, and pushing the boat out on price, but not suggesting you buy a specific wine, just a style of wine that might be new to you.  Try a Tokaji sweet wine from Hungary, but don't be put off by the price!  You will only want a small amount of it so a 20cl bottle would be perfect for two to four people, and you can get a good 20cl bottle for around £13.  Tokaji is one of the world's great wines, and usually give a slight flavour of rhubarb  - that will match the crumble - and you also get a honeyed note as well that will work so well with the vanilla pannacotta.  If you get one of the cheaper Tokaji (for example a 3 puttonyos wine), you will also get a very noticeable herbal flavour that will work nicely with the mint oil too.  If you like these wines, you could even buy a few and start a wine cellar with them, as they will last for decades, and if you go really expensive, centuries.