Panna Cotta with Chestnut Purée

Theo Randall's indulgent vanilla panna cotta is scented with Italian grappa and served with sweet chestnut purée and crunchy hazelnut brittle
By Theo Randall
Panna Cotta with Chestnut Purée
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus cooling and chilling
  • Effort: medium


  • 1.2 litres double cream
  • 2 vanilla pods, split
  • 1 lemon, thinly peeled rind
  • 3 leaves gelatine
  • 150 ml cold milk
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • drizzle of grappa, to serve

For the chestnut pur'e

  • 1 packets vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts
  • 200 ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 75 g icing sugar

For the hazelnut croquante

  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 50 ml water
  • 200 g blanched hazelnuts, toasted in a dry pan
  • vegetable oil, for greasing


1. Heat 900ml of the cream with the vanilla pods and lemon rind until it starts to come up to the boil, then simmer until reduced by a third. Remove from the heat, pour into a large bowl and leave to cool over ice. Pick out the vanilla and lemon rind.

2. Soak the gelatine leaves in the cold milk for 5-10 minutes until soft, then remove the gelatine and warm the milk gently in a pan until just below boiling point.

3. Add the gelatine back into the milk, stir until dissolved, then add to the cream. Cool the mixture over a bowl of ice to reach the consistency of double cream, but whisk every 5 minutes to stop it from going lumpy.

4. Whip the remaining cream with the icing sugar, then fold into the cooked cream mixture. Pour into moulds and leave to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

5. For the chestnut purée: tip the chestnuts into a pan along with the milk, vanilla pod and icing sugar. Bring to the boil and continue boiling for 25 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod.

6. Transfer the chestnuts to a food processor and with the motor running, gradually add the hot milk until you have a purée consistency.

7. For the hazelnut croquante: combine the sugar and water together and heat in a pan until the sugar turns a light golden caramel colour. Add the nuts, cook for 1 minute, then turn onto a greased chopping board. Leave to cool, then tip the nuts into a plastic food bag, seal, and crush with a rolling pin into small pieces.

8. Immerse the panna cotta moulds in hot water for 5-10 seconds to remove easily, then turn out onto plates and serve with the chestnut purée and hazelnut croquante. Finish with a drizzle of grappa.

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