This cooked cream is essentially panna cotta; cool and fresh, it slips down the back of the throat in the most comforting fashion. Cherries are at their best right now and work well lightly poached and served with ice-cream or in the dessert below. Cherries are also one of the very few fruits that work well with dark, bitter chocolate... Think black-forest gateau.
185ml/6fl oz of full-fat milk
250ml/8fl oz of double cream
100g/31/2 oz of caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise
2 sheets of leaf gelatine or 1. tsp of powdered gelatine
200g/7oz ripe, plump cherries
60g/21/2 oz of sugar
The peel of half a lemon
A small pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp of rose syrup
Place the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla pod over a low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring once or twice to ensure that the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the stove and allow to infuse for 20 minutes.
Immerse the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water and leave to soften for five minutes. Return the cream to a very low heat and bring to just under a boil, then remove from the heat. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine and add to the warm cream mixture. Stir well to ensure that the gelatine has dissolved and pour into a shallow baking dish. Once it has cooled to room temperature, place in the fridge and allow to chill for two hours.
Remove the stones from the cherries and place the fruit in a small saucepan along with the sugar, lemon peel and salt. Bring slowly to a gentle simmer, reduce and poach the cherries until just soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, then add the rose syrup. Place in the fridge and chill well.
To serve, scoop the cream out into individual dishes and spoon the fruit on top. Serve at once.Reuse content