The traditional recipe for this 'cooked cream', from the Piedmont region of Italy, is made with rich double cream. This lighter version of panna cotta, served with a pretty rhubarb and strawberry compote, is delightfully smooth and creamy yet much lower in fat. Prepare it the day before serving, if possible.
A fruit compote complements a creamy dessert in taste and colour, and also adds nutritional benefits. *Although used as a fruit, rhubarb is actually a vegetable. It contains vitamin C and is a good source of potassium. *Soft fruits such as strawberries are rich in vitamin C and contain useful amounts of potassium.
If you do not have a vanilla pod, use a few drops of pure vanilla extract. *For rosewater panna cotta, instead of orange zest and vanilla, add 1 tsp rosewater and the seeds from 8 cardamom pods to the milk and cream mixture in step 2, then leave to infuse. Serve with a fresh raspberry and passion fruit sauce. To make the sauce, push 450 g (1 lb) raspberries through a fine sieve, then mix the purée with 1 tbsp sifted icing sugar and the juice of 1/2 an orange. Stir in the pulp scooped from 2 passion fruits.