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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Earl Grey Panna Cotta

Tea, and especially Earl Grey, has become inextricably linked with steampunk. Professor Elemental serenaded it in "Cup of Brown Joy," and many Steampunks enjoy sitting back with a hot pot of tannic liquid. Panna Cotta is an older dessert that's come back of late as American tastes stray towards the gourmet. A combination of the two seems perfectly logical—creamy, delightful, and full of bergamot flavor.

Typically, panna cotta uses milk, cream, and sugar, which is then combined with gelatin. The flavoring is often simply that of the milk products, but additional flavorings are possible; I have made a blood orange panna cotta using blood orange purée, and I have eaten raspberry- and strawberry-flavored versions as well.

Here we are going to apply the tea to the dessert via a direct addition; another way could be to use a method described by my good friends at TeaHaus.

Earl Grey Panna Cotta
190 g Heavy Cream
190 g Earl Grey Tea, Brewed (6 g tea leaves, 240 ml/8 oz boiling water, steeped for 2 minutes), cooled
80 g Granulated Sugar
4 sheets of silver-grade sheet gelatin (please, for the love of all that is holy, don't make me explain the conversions... just go here and hold your head in your hands.)

1. Bloom the gelatin by placing the two sheets in sufficient water (no specific quantity, just enough that they float freely.)
2. Bring the cream, tea, and sugar to a boil in a nonreactive saucepan. When it reaches a boil, remove from heat and cool to slightly above body temperature—say about 100°F/38°C/311.15 K)
3. When the gelatin is soft (usually within 5 minutes, you can poke the sheets to see if they're soft yet without harming them) remove them from the water, gently squeeze them to remove excess water, and stir into the cream/tea mixture. They will dissolve, and once they have completely disappeared, pour your mixture into serving vessels of your choice (I used some mugs that are handy in the house, but you can use anything from martini glasses to a lightly-oiled mold of your choice. I'm going to serve the panna cotta in cups, but if you want to serve it in the more traditional "gelled item on a plate" manner, the mold is the way to go.) Refrigerate until set, which will take around an hour at the least.

See above for a picture. I apologize that it's not nice, garnished, and pretty. I had to try it, and it's ridiculously good. The Earl Grey flavor is not highly pronounced to someone with as much tea under their belt as me, and I might consider brewing a stronger base for it in the future. However, the tea flavor is delicate and delightful, and this dessert is bound to satisfy the entire table.

This recipe yields about 2 cups/400 ml of Panna Cotta.


  1. ooohh, as I also frequent the TeaHaus, I could see this being done with their Oriental Moon or Chili Chocolate teas as well.

  2. wow, I never knew that you blogged as well! Keep up the good work!

  3. Luveday: You could absolutely do this with any of their other teas; I suspect some of them might be less appetizing though—I mean, Lapsang Souchong Panna Cotta seems a little gross to me.

    Sauced: Yep! I do indeed. This is my little project...

  4. Fabulous! I look forward to trying this recipe very much.

    But of course, you really *should* know it's spelled Earl GREY tea. ;-)

  5. Curses! Foiled again. Duly noted and changed.


Your opinions and comments always are welcomed, but do be civil... this isn't a kitchen, after all.