600ml/20 fl oz (2½ cups) fresh cream (fat content 35–40%)
1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
pinch of salt
50g/2 oz (¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
2 gelatine leaves
3¾ gelatine leaves
135g/4½ oz (⅔ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
600ml/20 fl oz (2½ cups) hot, strong coffee
1 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch), for dusting
langues de chat biscuits

The original version of this dessert came about for a special long-table dinner that Rory O’Connell, co-founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, and I used to collaborate on each summer. It consisted of rich Jersey cream panna cotta topped with a single layer of intense coffee jelly.

Over time, I played around with the proportion of jelly in relation to the vanilla cream. I set layers of the dark jelly through the panna cotta; eventually the recipe evolved into this striking stripy pudding. The coffee jelly can be replaced with other flavours too; blackcurrant jelly works particularly well. When I serve this dish on the dessert trolley, it is always accompanied by a tall glass of thin, crisp pistachio langues de chat.

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2.Place a 1.2 litre/2 pint glass bowl in the refrigerator to chill.
3.Place the cream in a small heavy pan with the split vanilla pod, salt and sugar.
4.Put on a low heat and bring to below simmering point.
5.Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes.
6.Remove the gelatine leaves from the water, shake off the excess, add to the hot cream mixture and stir to dissolve.
7.Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and then scrape any remaining seeds from the vanilla pod and add them back into the cream.
8.Rinse the vanilla pod in warm water, allow to dry and save for decorating the finished dish.
9.Allow the cream mixture to cool to room temperature. I usually sit the bowl in an ice bath, stirring the cream frequently, to speed this up. Cooling the cream brings it closer to its setting point. When it is close to setting it will thicken slightly and there is the added benefit that the vanilla seeds will now stay suspended in the mixture and not pool in a layer on the bottom of the bowl.
10.Ladle enough of the cream mixture into the glass serving bowl to make the layer 1cm/½ inch deep. Leave in the refrigerator to set.
12.Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes.
13.Meanwhile, add the sugar to the hot coffee and stir to dissolve.
14.Remove the gelatine leaves from the water, shaking off the excess, add to the coffee mixture while it is still hot and stir to dissolve.
15.Allow to cool to room temperature. Again, I usually use an ice bath to speed up this process.
16.Remove from the ice bath, if using, and keep at room temperature.
17.Ladle the cooled coffee mixture on top of the set cream to a depth of 1cm/½ inch. Allow to set; this does not take long.
18.Repeat the layering process, alternating between the vanilla cream and the coffee mixture, until both mixtures have been used up.
19.Allow each layer to set before applying the next.
21.Dust the dried vanilla pod in cornflour (cornstarch) so it is white all over, and rest the pod on the edge of the layered pudding.
22.The assembled dish can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days.
23.Serve chilled with a plate of langues de chat to pass around.
25.The pinch of salt in the panna cotta balances the flavour of the cream in a surprising way. The point is not to make the mixture salty but to lightly season and elevate the simple vanilla cream.
26.This is gluten free if omitting biscuits.

Recipes and images
extracted from Ballymaloe
Desserts: Iconic Recipes
and Stories from Ireland by
JR Ryall
. Photography by
Cliodhna Prendergast.
Published by Phaidon, $95.