White chocolate panna cotta with saffron, cinnamon and cardamom

These lightly spiced chocolate desserts from Alan Coxon are served with a spiky dark chocolate chilli sauce
By Alan Coxon
White chocolate panna cotta with saffron, cinnamon and cardamom
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus at least 2 hrs chilling
  • Effort: medium


For the white chocolate panna cotta

  • 4 sheets leaf gelatine
  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 200 g white chocolate, grated
  • 1/2 tsp strands saffron
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest only

For the dark chocolate chilli sauce

  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 200 g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, grated
  • 100 ml water
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 chilli, finely diced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest


1. For the white chocolate panna cotta: soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water until soft.

2. In a heavy-based pan heat the cream, vanilla pod, cinnamon and cardamom pods slowly over a low heat until simmering. Strain to remove the solid ingredients.

3. Pour a little hot cream over the white chocolate, scrape in the seeds from the vanilla pod and mix well until smooth.

4. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine and drop into the hot cream, stirring until completely dissolved. Stir into the chocolate mixture and mix well.

5. Stir in the saffron and pour into 4 medium-sized ramekins or dariole moulds, or 6 small timbales. Clean yogurt pots or tea cups work equally well.

6. Put into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

7. For the dark chocolate chilli sauce: heat the water with the orange juice and the cocoa powder until boiling, stirring well to blend.

8. Put the grated dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and pour the pour the orange juice mixture over the chocolate. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, chilli and honey, and mix well. Leave to infuse for a few minutes, before straining the sauce.

9. To serve, dip the moulds briefly into hot water and turn out onto serving plates. Serve with the dark chocolate chilli sauce.

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