Bubblegum Flavoured Panna Cotta and Jelly Eyeballs – *Halloween Special*

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Throwing a Halloween party and looking for something special to tempt your guests with? Or what about simply freaking out the kids who dare to come Trick or Treating? Well, have I got something for you…

Okay, so here’s the admission – it took me three goes to get these right. That’s good news for you because I’ve already made the mistakes, and the resulting recipe is dead easy.

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Voila! Enough to ewwww! the most seasoned Halloween goer!

What you need:

500 ml of cream

250 ml of milk

½ cup caster sugar

Bubblegum flavouring

Gelatine Powder

Various food colours

Ice cube trays with rounded bottoms

Spray oil

Wooden skewer

Flat bottomed, plastic container

Small, round cutter – I used the end of a piping nozzle.

Fine paintbrush

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Jelly and moulds

How it’s done:

Mix about a cup of boiling water with a tablespoon of gelatine, stirring well to get all the lumps out. Add a couple of drops of your desired iris colour – I found pale blue to be the most (ahem) authentic. Pour into the flat bottomed plastic container and refrigerate. This mix shouldn’t be more than 3mm thick.

While the iris mix is setting, pour the cream and milk into a small saucepan and, while stirring, bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and add caster sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Remove from heat and add the bubblegum flavouring (I used ‘Robert’s Confectionary’ brand, and found I needed about 2 capfuls to get enough flavour). Refrigerate.

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Cute Eyeballs

Your iris mix will be set by now, so remove it from the fridge and run the wooden skewer around the outside of your jelly mix. It will lift easily out of the plastic container and feel quite rubbery. Place it on a sheet of greaseproof paper, and with the round cutter, stamp out as many ‘irises’ as you need. Lightly grease the ice-cube trays with spray oil, and place one iris piece at the bottom of each rounded cube.

Your bubblegum cream mixture will be chilled by now (very important not to use it hot – it will melt your irises), so remove it from the fridge. Add about half a cup of the mixture back into the saucepan, along with 3 tablespoons of gelatine. Stir over a low heat until the gelatine is dissolved. Now, workingvery quickly (it will set fast) add the warm mixture back into the chilled cream mix. Stir or whisk to combine. Making sure the entire mixture is cool or at least room temperature, add a teaspoon or so to each ice-cube mould, pouring directly over your jelly iris. Refrigerate again.

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Eyeballing!

Once set, gently remove your eyeballs from the ice cube trays, again using the skewer. Place flat on the tray or plate that you plan to serve them on. Add a couple of drops of black food colouring to a small glass, and with a fine paintbrush, dab a little in the middle of each iris, to form the pupil. Store covered in cling wrap in the fridge.

I found the eyeballs looked most authentic the next day, after some of the colour had leached into the cream mix, and the black food colour had soaked in. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you could always serve these with a drizzle of red food dye, or even mashed up raspberries on the side.

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Dah dah!

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