A prepare-ahead dessert is always useful when entertaining, to give you more time to concentrate on other courses. Using buttermilk in a panna cotta recipe makes it very light and refreshing, so this recipe is ideal after a rich main course.
The thyme crumble will make plenty, so store the excess in an airtight container and use to scatter over other desserts such as ice cream or poached fruit.
– 4 gelatine leaves (7 × 11cm strips)
– 200ml whole milk
– 400ml buttermilk
– 100g honey
– Groundnut or vegetable oil, for greasing
– Thyme leaves, to decorate
– 4 rhubarb sticks (use Yorkshire forced, when in season)
– 200g caster sugar
– 1/2 tsp rose water
– 50g soft butter
– 50g demerara sugar
– 75g plain flour
– 25g ground almonds
– 1.5 tsp thyme leaves
1. For the panna cotta, put the gelatine in a shallow bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soften for 5 minutes.
2. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until hot but not boiling.
3. Squeeze the water from the gelatine and stir the gelatine into the hot milk to completely dissolve.
4. Mix in the buttermilk and honey. Strain into a jug. Very lightly grease a 20cm pudding basin with a little oil.
5. Pour the panna cotta mix in and pop in the fridge for 3 hours, or overnight, to set.
6. Cut the rhubarb into 3cm pieces, cutting them in half lengthways if they are particularly
7. Put the caster sugar in a saucepan along with 200ml of water and the rose water.
8. Bring to the boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and add the rhubarb.
9. Cook gently for 5 minutes. Remove the rhubarb with a slotted spoon and chill in the fridge.
10. Place the pan back over the heat and cook the rhubarb juice for about 10–15 minutes, until it has reduced by about half and is the consistency of syrup.
11. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely before putting in the fridge to chill.
12. To make the crumble, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
13. Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Mix in the flour, almonds and thyme.
14. Scatter the crumble mix onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, shaking the tray halfway through to ensure an even colour, until golden and crunchy.
15. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
16. Remove the panna cotta from the fridge half an hour before serving.
17. To serve, place 2 scoops onto each plate. Top with the poached rhubarb, pour over some syrup and finish with a scattering of crumble and some picked thyme.
Marcus Wareing is one of the most respected and acclaimed chefs in Britain today. Owning three restaurants, two being two Michelin-starred Marcus has a long list of awards, including Restaurateur of the Year and Young Chef of the Year. Marcus is also a judge on of MasterChef: The Professionals, where he can showcase his tips and tricks to contestants and viewers. Marcus at Home focuses on great flavours and his recipes will become favorites in you home. It contains food you can make in a rush or when you want to create a showstopping meal.