For me, cooking at home is kinda slow. Stirring figure of eights in cream as it gently heats. Dicing fruit in neat cubes. Smoothing milk chocolate over a slightly uneven banana cake.
But work does not go that way. Dozens of pannacottas at a time. Ten kilos of flour to hoist onto the scales. Quickly, because someone is waiting behind with neon-yellow curry bread, or a stack of figs and fennel seeds. Breakfast now takes about twenty seconds, the separate buttery layers of pain au chocolat squashed in between filling tarts and airbrushing scones. (Not like photoshop; for maximum efficiency, a hosepipe and fine spraygun blow egg yolk with an angry growl.)
Sometimes I get lucky. The other day I had pannacotta for breakfast. Eaten with a spoon, it takes longer. Breathing time. I like them with just the soft scent of proper speckly vanilla, which always makes sweating over a flan or riz au lait much more bearable. But this time, instead of the classic red fruit coulis, it came with a heap of pineapple cubes. Marinated in sugar syrup and sichuan pepper overnight so it absorbs all the extra sweetness and spice, the pineapple gets caramelised quickly in a pan and turns golden brown. Luxury. Slow cooking luxury.
I’m not sure what the rules are yet about “borrowing” recipes from work. So you will have to look up a pannacotta recipe elsewhere. But the principle is simple:
Heat cream, ricotta, sugar and vanilla. Soak gelatine leaves in cold cold water. When the cream bubbles, whisk in the gelatine until thoroughly melted. Pour into glasses – about 100g per person is good – and leave to chill.
Dice the pineapple: literally dice-sized cubes. Heat an equal amount sugar and water, add your spices of choice (star anise is nice, peppercorns will give it a good kick). Pour over pineapple. Leave for 24 hours. The next day, heat the pineapple in a dry pan until dark and caramelised. Serve over pannacotta.
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