My rule of thumb for a special meal is always to have a dessert that you can make ahead of time – that way once you sit down for your main course, your work is done and you can completely relax and enjoy yourself. This dessert needs to be made ahead of time (a day is ideal however you can make it two days ahead if that's easier) as it needs to set overnight.
This dessert is light and delicious and the perfect ending to this meal, but of course it still has chocolate in it as you can't have Valentines Day without chocolate!
The quantities for this recipe make enough for 4 generous servings, however I thought that if you are going to go to the effort of making a delicious dessert you might as well make enough for left-overs the next day!
500ml double or whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise in half
100g good quality white chocolate
3 fine gelatin leaves
For the rose syrup:
1 tbsp rosewater
Pink food colouring (optional)
Rose petals (optional)
Heat the cream in a pan over a medium heat until it just starts to boil. Turn the heat down to it's lowest setting then add the seeds from the vanilla pod and the white chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts then remove from the heat and set aside.
Put some cold water into a shallow bowl then add the gelatine leaves. Leave for 5 minutes until they have softened then remove and squeeze out the excess water. Add to the cream mixture and stir until well combined (you can use a whisk if you prefer at this point) then leave to cool slightly before pouring into individual moulds. Put the panna cottas in the fridge and leave to set overnight.
To make the rose syrup put the sugar and water into a pan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved, stirring from time to time. Once the sugar has completely dissolved turn the heat up and bring it to boil. Reduce the heat then add the rose water then leave to simmer for 10 minutes until it has thickened and reduced slightly. Remove from the heat then add a little pink food colouring (if using). Allow the syrup to cool completely then transfer into a bottle or jar.
When ready to serve, dip the base of the moulds very briefly ( a matter of seconds) into hot water and turn out onto serving plates (or if you prefer you can serve them still in the moulds if you have used tea cups or wine glasses). Drizzle over a little of the rose syrup then garnish with a few rose petals (or any thing else you prefer).