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Ready for this

The Shed chef
Oliver Gladwin says spring is the time
to enjoy his sweet basil panna cotta

Oliver Gladwin

For some reason it’s fashionable in London restaurants to say, “I couldn’t possibly,” then skip dessert and just have a coffee. But you often miss out on a real treat and, at The Shed [in Notting Hill], we encourage our guests to have something sweet at the end of their dinner.

This is a lovely spring dessert, perfect with rhubarb compote or mixed berries. The pungent, herbal flavour of basil complements the richness of the panna cotta to create an unusual but harmonious eating sensation.

Ingredients (serves 6)

2 sheets bronze leaf gelatine
600ml double cream
60g caster sugar
4 large sprigs of basil, plus 6 individual leaves to garnish

6 small glasses or 100ml dariole moulds

Sweet basil panna cotta

1. Put the gelatine in a small dish, cover with cold water and set aside to soak. Meanwhile, put the
cream, sugar and basil sprigs in a small, heavy-based saucepan over a moderate heat. Just before the mixture comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

2. Return the pan to the heat, bring the infused cream back up to the boil, and then strain it through a sieve into a clean bowl.

3. Squeeze the basil sprigs with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much of the flavour as possible before discarding them.

4. Gently squeeze out any excess water from the gelatine, add to the hot infused cream and stir until fully dissolved. Pour the mixture into individual glasses or dariole moulds and transfer them to the fridge to set for 2 to 3 hours or preferably overnight.

5. To serve, turn out of the moulds and garnish with basil leaves. Accompany with some fresh fruit, if you wish.