Lemon Verbena Vanna Cotta with Poached Rhubarb,Sorbet and SweetToasted Seeds

Serves 4
You Will Need:

  • 500ml double cream
  • 15g lemon verbena
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 6g gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
  • 4 x 12cm bowls or Kilner jars
  • For the poached rhubarb
  • 200ml cranberry juice, plus extra if needed
  • 200ml Stock Syrup (see right)
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 8 rhubarb stalks, cut into 7.5cm batons
  • For the sweet toasted seeds
  • 350g jumbo porridge oats
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g black sesame seeds
  • 50g white sesame seeds
  • 50g blue poppy seeds
  • 100g wheatgerm
  • 75g demerara sugar
  • 100g runny honey
  • 75ml olive oil
  • Rhubarb sorbet, to serve
  • 600g rhubarb, cut into large pieces
  • 200ml cranberry juice


Bring the cream and lemon verbena to a rolling boil in a large saucepan for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse. Heat the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and stir it into the milk mixture until dissolved. Add the milk mixture to the infused cream and gently whisk. Pass through a fine sieve into a large pouring jug. Cover the top of the jug with cling film and push it down so that it is touching the mixture – this will prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes until cool but do not allow to set. Pour the cooled mixture, about 3cm deep, into your bowls or jars and refrigerate until set.
Put the cranberry juice, stock syrup and vanilla pod into a wide saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Gently add the rhubarb batons – they should be completely covered; if not, add more cranberry juice as required. Poach for 5 minutes, or until a sharp knife can push through with little resistance. Carefully lift out the rhubarb and set aside, then leave the liquor to cool. Once cooled, the rhubarb can be stored in the liquor for up to 1 week.
Preheat the oven to 150C/ 300F/Gas 2 and line a baking tray about 7.5cm deep with silicone or greaseproof paper. Mix together the oats, all the seeds, wheatgerm and sugar thoroughly with your hands in a large bowl. Add the honey and oil and mix again, coating evenly.
Spread the seed mixture onto the tray. Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes. Leave to cool in the tray.
Remove the bowls from the fridge and evenly sprinkle 2tbsp of the toasted seeds onto the panna cotta. Place three batons of poached rhubarb in the centre of each bowl and top with a scoop of rhubarb sorbet.
Stock syrup
Heat 800ml water and 500g caster sugar in a saucepan and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and pass the syrup through a sieve. Store in a sterilised airtight container in the fridge until needed – it will last for up to one month.
Rhubarb sorbet
Put the rhubarb and cranberry juice into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender. Pass the mixture through a sieve, then put the rhubarb pulp into a blender and whizz until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the rhubarb liquor until the mixture is completely smooth and coats the back of a spoon. Whisk the rhubarb mixture with the stock syrup and then churn in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it reaches a sorbet consistency. Transfer to a freezer-proof container and store in the freezer until needed – it will keep for up to six months.

See Recipe in foodandtravel.com
Recipe credit: Recipes and photographs taken from Cracking Yolks and Pig Tales by Glynn Purnell, Photography by Laura Edwards