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Cooking with Hannibal: Fromage

Late Harvest Vidal from Virginia winemaker Linden

Late Harvest Vidal from Virginia winemaker Linden

“The Virginia wine revolution is upon us.” Hannibal, I couldn’t agree more. When serial killers hang out and threaten each other, apparently they drink Late Harvest Vidal from Linden, Virginia. In this case, Tobias Budge the “special string” expert is the lucky serial killer in question, on the receiving end of Hannibal’s culinary talents. He soon bolts. Not because of the Virginia wine, I’m sure.

Luckily, Will Graham is just in time for dessert. We can’t really tell what it is, except that it looks rich and decadent, and contains some whites, purples and browns.

Unknown dessert…with rambutans?

Unknown dessert…with rambutans?

Looks like there might be a rambutan in the corner of each plate?

Rambutan Image Courtesy of

Rambutan Image Courtesy of

Then he drizzles a delightful dark fruit or chocolate sauce on top.

Unknown dessert…with rambutans?

Unknown dessert…with rambutans?

I love rambutans raw by themselves. A dessert that I adore, which combines some of the same dark reds and whites, is the Panna Cotta with Grappa and Raspberries at River Cafe in London. The panna cotta is nice and loose, and I prefer it served on a plate like this instead of in a mold.

Panna Cotta with Grappa and Raspberries

Adapted from River Cafe Cookbook Two by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers

Yield: serves 6


1.2 liters heavy cream

2 vanilla pods

zest of 2 lemons

5 sheets silver gelatin

150 ml cold milk

150 grams confectioners’ sugar

120 ml grappa, plus 6 tablespoons to serve

3 pints raspberries


Pour 900 ml of the cream into a pan. Add the vanilla and lemon, bring to a boil, then simmer until reduced by ⅓. Remove the cooked lemon rind and reserve. Remove the vanilla and scrape the softened pods. Add the scraped solids to the cream and throw out what remains of the pods. Bloom the gelatin in the milk for about 15 minutes. Remove the gelatin sheets, then heat the milk until it boils in a pot. Remove the milk from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it dissolves. Pour the mixture into the hot cream and strain, stir, then leave to cool. Lightly whip the remaining cream with the sugar, fold in the cooled, cooked cream, then add the grappa. Put a piece of cooked lemon rind into each of 6  small molds or bowls (about 7 ounces each). Pour in the cream mixture and put in the fridge. Allow to set for at least 2 hours. Turn the panna cottas onto dessert plates. Plate the raspberries and serve with a tablespoon of grappa on top of each panna cotta.


About francoiseeats

I'm currently working as a freelance travel and food writer, and photographer. I spent two years at, the culinary on-line magazine for the industry insider. My articles have been published in New York, NY and Richmond, VA. After graduating from Columbia University and recovering from the tragedy of not being able to read Camus books for a living, I attended The Culinary Institute of America, where my scone consumption rose drastically. Fluent in French and Italian, I've worked in some of New York's top restaurants and covered food-related stories in a number of publications, from The Richmond Times-Dispatch to Time Out New York.

2 responses »

  1. There is a complete rambutan on the plate but to my opinion the half fruit is a mangoustan.
    Anyway your blog is amazing. Thanks for the articles about hannibaĺ´s kitchen!


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