Recipes |  Manhattan creams with citrus caramel


Manhattan creams with citrus caramel

Of all the magical chapters that make up Diana Henry's wonderful book How to Eat a Peach - a combined food memoir, travelogue and cookery book, 'Missing New York' is the most evocative, making you immediately want to jump on a plane and spend a few days following in her footsteps.

But the subsequent menu is wonderful too, not least the 'Manhattan creams with citrus caramel' which she describes as 'possibly the best pudding in the book'. (I like her use of that word rather than dessert)

Over to Diana . . .

"Oh, there are so many puddings that say ‘New York’! I struggled over the choice, juggling brownies, roast apple and bourbon ice cream, upside down pear and cranberry tarts… but in the end I settled on this. It has the flavours of a Manhattan – bourbon, sweet vermouth and a dash of Angostura bitters – captured in a pannacotta. You can use oranges or blood oranges instead of grapefruit, if you prefer.

This is possibly the best pudding in the book… not counting ice creams, of course. Make it often: it’s classic, useful and able to take all sorts of different adornments. It works well with roast peaches, apricots and pears, poached plums, or caramelized slices of apples, though use orange rather than grapefruit juice for the caramel if you want to serve it with any of these fruits.

serves 4

for the cream

3 gelatine leaves (about 6g/¼oz)

150ml (5fl oz) whole milk

300ml (½ pint) double cream

80g (2¾oz) caster sugar

squeeze of lemon juice

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon


1 tablespoon sweet white


good dash of Angostura bitters

1 large red grapefruit

for the citrus caramel

200ml (7fl oz) pink grapefruit


3 tablespoons lemon juice

100g (3½oz) caster sugar

You will need 4 metal moulds, each with a capacity of 125ml (4fl oz).

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for about 10 minutes; they will soften. Pour the milk and cream into a heavy-based saucepan with the sugar and place over a low heat, stirring a little to help the sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat and leave to cool until hand-warm.

Lift the gelatine leaves from the water and squeeze out excess liquid. Stir into the milk and cream mixture. The mixture should not be hot: if it’s too hot it will affect the gelatine ’s setting properties; if it is too cold, on the other hand, the gelatine won’t dissolve. Add the lemon juice, bourbon, vermouth and bitters. Pour into the metal moulds and leave to cool, then set in a small roasting tin (this just makes things easier), cover with cling film and chill to set for about 4–6 hours.

For the citrus caramel, mix the grapefruit and lemon juices together. Put the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan with 5 tablespoons of water. Set over a medium heat and cook, gently tipping the pan every so often, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to high and cook until caramelized: you will know by the smell and colour, but be careful not to take it too far (it goes from caramelized to burnt very quickly). You need to tip the pan as the sugar caramelizes around the edges, to spread the caramelization. Quickly add the citrus juices, standing well back (the caramel will bubble and spit). Stir and boil for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Leave to cool completely.

Trim the top and bottom of the grapefruit (it will now have a base on which to sit). Working from top to bottom and turning the grapefruit round as you go, remove the peel and pith (use a small sharp knife) in broad strips. Slide a small knife with a fine blade between the flesh and membrane and ease each segment out. Keep the segments as neat as possible. You should end up with 12 neat segments, 3 for each person.

To serve, dip the base of each mould into just-boiled water for a few seconds, then invert on to a plate, give the cream a shake and allow it to slip out. Spoon some of the citrus caramel around each cream and add the grapefruit segments.

What to drink: I'm honestly not sure you need a wine with this given the booze in the cream. Added to that the sweetness of the accompanying caramel will strip the flavour out of most dessert wines. A Canadian ice wine or very sweet young Trockenbeerenauslese riesling served very cold might possibly do it.

Book credit: How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry is published by Mitchell Beazley, £25 (

Imagery credit: Laura Edwards

If you found this post helpful and would like to support the website and keep it free for everyone to use it would be great if you could make a donation towards its running costs.

And for more hot tips and recommendations check out my Substack Eat This, Drink That, Live Well.

You may also enjoy …

Comments: 0 (Add)

Recent posts …

About FionaAbout FionaEvents and appearancesEvents and appearancesWork with meWork with me