Aromatic cardamom crisps and a pretty hibiscus syrup add exotic flavour to an already elegant dessert.
For the panna cotta, place the cream, milk and sugar into a heavy-based pan and slowly bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until the volume of the liquid has reduced by a third.
Meanwhile, soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of ice-cold water for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Drain and squeeze out any excess water with your hands.
Take the cream off the heat, then stir in the gelatine leaves, a few drops of rosewater and the ground cardamom seeds. Pour the mixture into four 100ml/3½fl oz dariole moulds, then transfer to the fridge and chill for two hours, or until set.
Meanwhile, for the hibiscus syrup, combine all of the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture reduces to a syrupy consistency. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 110C/225F/Gas ¼.
For the meringues, whisk the egg whites with a squeeze of lemon juice in a bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Then, slowly add the vanilla sugar, whisking continuously, until all the sugar has been incorporated and the meringue is firm and glossy.
Fold in the cornflour and pistachios, then spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm/½in nozzle. Pipe rounds of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for one hour and 30 minutes, or until the meringues are stiff and chewy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Increase the oven temperature to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
For the cardamom crisps, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg a little at a time until smooth. Fold in the remaining crisp ingredients, apart from the icing sugar.
Make balls from the biscuit mixture the size of pound coins, and place, spaced well apart, on a non-stick baking tray. Flatten slightly with a palette knife and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown, then flatten again with the palette knife.
Leave to cool on a wire rack, then dust with icing sugar just before serving.
To serve, dip the dariole moulds into hot water for a few seconds to loosen the panna cotta, then turn out onto serving plates. Arrange the pistachio meringue and cardamom crisps alongside, then drizzle around the hibiscus syrup.
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