Christmas Caramelised Chestnut Panna Cotta

Cooks in:

a new recipe in collaboration with Merchant Gourmet, this time with their amazing chestnuts.


2 Pouches Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts

1/2 cup/100g Caster Sugar 

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon 

Panna Cotta (makes 6)

1 tin of Full Fat Coconut Milk 

1 tbs Vanilla Bean Paste 

1 cup/250ml Soy Milk

6 Heaped Tbs of Corn Starch

1/3 cup/80ml Maple Syrup 

Clementine Dressing

4 Clementines, peeled & segmented 

1 & 1/2 cups/375ml Orange Juice

1 cup/200g Caster Sugar 

1 Star Anise 


1 cup/125g Icing Sugar

2 cups/250g Plain FLour 

1 cup/125g Vegan Margarine

2 tbs Water

Pinch Sea Salt


Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

First up make the caramelised chestnuts, place a non stick frying pan over a low heat and add the sugar. Let the sugar melt to an amber caramel. This will take 4-5 minutes or so but keep a careful eye on it at all times. When the sugar has melted stir through the chestnuts & cinnamon. When all the chestnuts are coated transfer them to the lined baking tray. Please be ultra careful as the caramel is extremely hot. Set the chestnuts aside for the caramel to harden. 

For the panna cotta, place 6 moulds on a baking tray. I recommend using stainless steel dariole moulds or plastic mini jelly moulds (approximately 2 inch in diameter).

Split the vanilla pod down the middle & scrape out the seeds using the back of your knife. 

Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over a low heat with the vanilla pod & seeds & leave to infuse for 5 minutes. 

In a mixing bowl add the non dairy milk to a bowl and whisk in the cornflour & maple syrup until smooth.

Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and using a spatula stir the mix until it has thickened up. This should take around 4-5 minutes. Once thick quickly remove the pan from the heat and pour/spoon the custard mix into your moulds. Give them a tap on the surface to make sure they are level, I then drop a caramelised chestnut into each of the pots for a surprise. Cover over the tray with cling film & place them into the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.

To make the chestnut cookies, add the flour, sugar, margarine, 60g of the caramelised chestnuts & salt to a food processor & pulse a few times to bring the mixture together into a dough. If your mix is a little dry and isn’t coming together add the couple tablespoons of water.

Wrap the ball of dough in cling film & place it into the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. 

Pre heat your oven to 170 degrees C and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Lightly flour your work surface & rolling pin then roll the cookie dough out to around 4mm thick. Cut the dough using a festive cookie cutter or just into biscuit shape of your choice.

Place the raw cookies onto your lined baking tray then once you’ve filled the tray, place it into the oven for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.

Once baked let the cookies cool slightly before carefully removing them from the tray & placing them onto a wire rack.

To make the clementine dressing, simply add all the ingredients to a small saucepan, then place the pan over a low heat to bubble away & reduce slightly for 15 minutes.

To turn the panna cotta’s out of their moulds simple dip the bottom of the mould in hot water to loosen them. 

Serve the panna cotta’s with plenty of dressing, cookies & any excess caramelised chestnuts.