Green Tea Panna Cotta

I came across this recipe via a cool Japanese website called Cook Pad which is a collection of user contributed recipes. It’s not dissimilar to something like or but as the Japanese are sticklers for seasonal foods and trends, Cook Pad is a fun way for me to remember what you’re ‘supposed’ to eat at any given month during the year. Happily green tea is something you can enjoy any time.

The recipe is actually is called maccha purin (green tea pudding) in Japanese but a purin is more equivalent to what we know as a creme caramel than a pudding. Furthermore, as this recipe doesn’t require eggs it’s basically a panna cotta. You’ll see that from the ingredients list and process itself.

I recommend this recipe if you’re short on cooking time (and/or kitchen expertise) but want to impress your friends. Green tea is a sublime flavour that a lot of Aussies are getting familiar with but it is still exotic enough to get a ‘wow’ when featured on a menu. Even food xenophobes shouldn’t find it too extreme or odd to the tastebuds and at any rate you can adjust the strength of the green tea to be on the safe side. When it comes to green tea, less certainly is more.

Just a note on green tea: Recipes for green tea or maccha require actual powdered green tea that is used in tea ceremonies. You can usually buy little tins of it at an Asian grocer. Do not use green tea that is sold in tea bags for drinking. They don’t necessarily come from the same leaf or are even processed the same way. You may get a vague tea-like flavour from using green tea bags but that’s not maccha.

Green Tea Panna Cotta Recipe (adapted from Cook Pad)

200ml of pouring or light cream (ie – the stuff you use to make whipped cream so not thickened cream)
100ml of milk (I used low fat but you can use whole for a very rich panna cotta or skim to offset the cream in terms of calories)
1tbp (15g) powdered green tea (use no more than this but up to a half less if you want a very subtle taste)
40g caster sugar
5g gelatin

To prepare: Put cream, milk and sugar into a small saucepan and simmer on a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. In a small bowl, mix the green tea powder with some warm/hot (not boiling hot) water and whisk lightly. It’s a good idea to sieve your mixture at least once to get rid of any of the heavier sediments which will sink to the bottom of your panna cotta (unsightly green bits!). Prepare your gelatin by pouring the powder onto some hot water in a small bowl. Stir a little to get the gelatin to dissolve but don’t worry if there’s a gluggy mass. It’ll dissolve completely later.

Add the green tea to the warmed cream mixture and whisk again. You can use the colour of your mixture as a guide as to how strongly your panna cotta will taste of green tea. A very light hint of green will mean a subtle green tea flavour. Anything darker than what I have pictured will give you a strongly flavoured batch but beware that green tea does have a bitter aftertaste if you use too much. As I mentioned before, no more than 15g or a small tablespoon! Add the dissolved gelatin into the green tea cream mixture and whisk again. Pour the mixture into ramekins or other similar small pots/bowls. You can also pour the lot into a larger bowl if you want to spoon your dessert out individually. Once the mixture has cooled off a little, transfer to fridge and allow to set (minimum of 4 hours).

Once set, you can serve your individual ramekins to guests or plate some of the panna cotta up with whipped cream and a small dob of cooked, sweetened azuki. You may notice that the bottom of the panna cotta is greener than the rest but sadly this can’t be helped as some green tea sediments will sink. It’s no different to making a vanilla panna cotta and having all the vanilla bean bits sink downwards. You can probably remedy this somewhat by sieving the green tea mixture a few more times before adding to the cream.

I adore this panna cotta on its own but it could also taste amazing with a rich dark chocolate panna cotta alongside. A delectable duo of creaminess!

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