Our cookbook of the week is Provençal by Alex Jackson, chef-owner of the acclaimed Sardine in London, England. Tomorrow, we’ll feature an interview with its author.
Cool and creamy, panna cotta may just be the perfect summer dessert. Alex Jackson puts a Provençal spin on the Italian pudding by poaching cherries in pastis, an anise-flavored apéritif. Pastis is especially popular in southeastern France, where it remains an apéro (happy hour) classic.
Here, he poaches cherries in a thyme-scented pastis liquid, which is chilled and spooned over vanilla-flecked cooked cream. “I have no idea whether it’s traditional at all but it’s definitely delicious,” says Jackson.
“Aniseseed and cherry is a really good combo, and the juice that it makes is this lovely purple colour. There’s something really incredible about it: (All the elements are) really cold, and you get to drizzle the purple onto the white. Everything about it is quite satisfying.”
If you have any of the poaching liquid leftover, Jackson recommends mixing yourself a drink: Simply stir with Crémant or Champagne “for a sort of southern Kir Royale.”