Blueberry And Goat's Milk Pana Cotta

It just so happens that the blueberry season in the UK coincides with the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's devastating impact on the city of New Orleans, which made me think of one man who was for several days missing presumed dead. Fats Domino's biggest UK hit was Blueberry Hill, so when I found myself with some blueberries in the anniversary week I made this dish as a commemorative offering. It's a very simple and absolutely delicious dessert.

Ingredients (8 portions)

600g blueberries
100g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
100ml water
600ml goat's milk
3 gelatin sheets


These are the juicy blueberries I used in the recipe. Because blueberries are fairly mild to taste, I always use a good amount of them in recipes so my end product boasts plenty of their delicate yet distinctive flavour.
I started by making a simple sugar syrup with the caster sugar and water. Equal quantities of each in a saucepan, brought to a boil and simmered gently until thickened. I then added my whole blueberries to the syrup and let it all bubble away until the berries had broken down and released their wonderful colour and aroma to the syrup.
I'd never actually tasted goat's milk before I made this panna cotta with it and I was surprised by its relatively mild flavour. I had expected it to be quite sharp with (as my dad described it) a "strange aftertaste". But to my surprise it actually tasted very much like cow's milk. In fact it was only the slightly odd taste it left in the mouth that allowed me to distinguish it from regular cow's milk.

OK - so I slowly brought 600ml of the milk to the boil.
In the meantime I soaked my gelatin leaves in cold water for a few minutes until they'd softened. Then I squeezed them to get rid of the excess water and set aside ready for action.
While the milk came to the boil I also blitzed the blueberry syrup mixture and passed it through a fine sieve to take out any bits of blueberry skin that hadn't been pulverised.

Just before the milk came to the boil, I removed it from the heat to prevent it from overflowing (this can happen all too easily if you take your eye off the pan). I added my softened gelatin leaves and stirred thoroughly until they'd dissolved. Then I gradually added the blueberry mixture while tasting, until it had the right consistency and flavour.
There was far too much mixture to fit in the five ramekins we own. Besides that we'd been shopping the day I made this, and so there would have been no room for them in the fridge anyway. So I ended up pouring all of the mix into a large bowl and letting it set in the freezer for an hour or two until some space was available.

By the time space became available the mix had already started to set, so I had to leave it in the bowl in the fridge overnight. So apologies for the lack of presentability of the panna cotta, but as you can see I had to scoop large chunks from the bowl to serve it.

I finished it with a drizzle of double cream. It was absolutely delicious. Next time maybe I'll make a little blueberry compote to pour on top and add a little contrast in texture and temperature.