Lemon curd and basil panna cotta with white chocolate noodles

Lemon curd and basil panna cotta with white chocolate noodles

My Italian Kitchen
Chris Middleton

The refreshing combination of lemon and basil is everywhere in Italian savoury dishes, but it can also work surprisingly well in a dessert like this one. With the subtle basil flavour of the panna cotta, the sharp tang of the lemon curd, the sweet crunch of the pine nut streusel and the lovely surprise of the white chocolate frozen noodles, this recipe is delicious!

Basil panna cotta


Quantity Ingredient
2 gold-strength gelatine leaves
or 1 1/2 teaspoons gelatine powder, dissolved in 60 ml boiling water
660ml thickened cream
40g sugar
100g basil, leaves picked

Lemon curd

Quantity Ingredient
2 eggs
220g sugar
1 lemon, finely zested
80ml lemon juice
125g unsalted butter, cubed

Pine nut streusel

Quantity Ingredient
50g pine nuts
20g soft brown sugar
35g caster sugar
20g unsalted butter, melted

Frozen white chocolate noodles

Quantity Ingredient
1 x 200 g packet white cooking chocolate
bowl ice-cold water
small basil leaves, to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. To make the panna cotta, soften the gelatine leaves in ice-cold water. Once soft, squeeze off the excess water. (If you can’t get your hands on gelatine leaves, use gelatine powder dissolved in boiling water.)
  3. In a saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a light boil over a medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the basil and leave to infuse for 10–15 minutes, depending on how strong you want the basil flavour.
  4. Add the gelatine and stir through until melted, then pass the liquid through a sieve. Pour the mixture into six 150 ml lightly greased dariole moulds. Put in the fridge for 4 hours to set.
  5. For the lemon curd, whisk the eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until they are light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. During this process, make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Add the lemon zest and juice and keep whisking for another 10 minutes. The mixture will thicken up a lot. Add the butter, one cube at a time, and continue to whisk until well incorporated. Put the mixture in a piping bag in the fridge until needed for plating.
  6. For the streusel, blitz the pine nuts with the sugars and butter in a food processor to form a crumb. Bake for 5 minutes on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Set aside.
  7. For the frozen white chocolate noodles, melt the chocolate, either in the microwave or over a double boiler, and pour it into a piping bag with a 4–5 mm nozzle.
  8. Pipe the melted chocolate into the ice-cold water. As the chocolate falls to the bottom of the bowl, it will harden. Remove it and refrigerate until needed.
  9. Transfer the panna cotta from the moulds onto serving plates, pipe some curd on the plates, sprinkle with the pine nut streusel, and top with the frozen chocolate noodles and basil leaves.
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