Tribute Dish - the Roux Pre-Dessert - panna cotta, jelly and granita... [Thermomix]

At Roux Parliament Square, the pre-dessert is a panna cotta, topped with a jelly, and then a refreshing granita. On the day I went we had a coconut/passion fruit/lime, but I notice from trawling reviews that they also do apple/apple/cucumber (yum!), pineapple/coconut/kaffir lime, strawberry/strawberry/meringue.  So it's a very successful formula, onto which you can put your own twist.  If you're going to do this regularly, you'll need some better glasses than mine, I'm on the lookout for something far prettier, a little like this...

I love dishes like this, you immediately wonder what flavour combinations you'd be able to get away with - is whackier better? Could you go liquorice/pernod/blackberries like some '80's throwback drink? How about plum/Prucia liqueur/plum... [I recently discovered Pruci at Gerry's in Soho, the most amazing stuff! It's made from the Japanese Ume plum, macerated in grape spirit and aged in French oak barrels - one of the most addictive things I've tried in ages!] How about bergamot/apple/elderflower? Earl Grey/Bergamot/Lime? Matcha/coconut/matcha?   

The Roux Panna Cotta
Actually, because I've been cooking all weekend, I thought I might try Fruit Tea/Pimms/Cosmopolitan Mixer and massively cheat.  That may be a bad idea, but the grand thing about a thermomix is that it will only take 20 mins or so of prep to try the whole thing out - so why not?

Fruit Tea Panna Cotta (adapted from the Daily Mail). 
3 gelatine leaves
200ml semi-skimmed milk
300ml double cream
50g caster sugar
2 fruit tea bags

A quick adaptation of the standard Thermomix panna cotta recipe gives us a combined technique of...
  1. Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, put the milk, cream and caster sugar into the thermomix and cook for 6 minutes / 80ºC / Speed 3
  3. Drain the gelatine and squeeze to remove the excess water. Add to the thermomix and stir for 3 minutes / speed 3 to dissolve the gelatine.
  4. Tip into a bowl, then add the tea bags and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the tea bags, pour the mixture into your glasses and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until set – there should be a slight wobble in the centre.
Tips: Now, getting this panna cotta neatly into the glass is going to drive you insane! Make sure you know where your funnel is, and that it fits your glass, before you begin!  I ended up using a sauce bottle, you know the kind, for putting little dots around the plate - still ended up with the odd splash...

Pimms Jelly  (adapted from the Daily Mail)
50g caster sugar
50ml water
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 gelatine leaves
100ml  Pimm's
100ml  lemonade

Not going to do this in the thermomix.  
  1. Put the sugar, water and lemon juice into a saucepan and heat gently until dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. 
  2. Place the gelatine in a shallow bowl, cover with water and soak for 4 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water, then add the gelatine to the pan to dissolve. 
  3. Cool, then add the Pimm's and lemonade. Cool at room temperature. 
Before you put the jelly onto the panna cotta, make sure it is completely set!  From past experience I've found it best to put a tiny layer of jelly on first, allow this one to set, then add the rest of your jelly layer - this gives you a clear jelly.  I know this picture has a frosted glass, it's just come out of the fridge.  But look at the jelly layer - you can just make out the first, slightly milky layer, and then the clearer jelly on top. Do take the time to do this step properly if you're doing it for guests - but hey - my kids didn't even look at it!

Cosmopolitan Mixer Granita:
100ml Funkin passionfruit syrup
2 pouches of Funkin Cosmopolitan Mixer
Juice of 1/2 lime
Ice cubes to blend into a granita

I'm going to cheat, because I can :0)  Put the juicy bits into the thermomix and add enough ice cubes to blend into a granita.  Make sure you really get a fine grain, as the flavour is much stronger in a finer grain than a really gravelly granita (if you're using a thermomix that is - will not apply to a normal granita if you make it in the traditional way, as your flavour is your ice!).  As usual, mine is far too ungainly, but the flavour is there. I'm going to find a more appropriate glass, and cut back on the quantity and roughness of the granita.  Having said that, the panna cotta is flipping perfect! Absolutely the right amount of wobble, smooth, creamy, so I'll use those ratios again!  Think I'd be more inclined too to make a proper granita, the thermomix one is great if your in a hurry, but the texture is difficult to gauge like that.