Chris and I have been drinking lots and lots of tea throughout this snowy winter. We’ve done quite a bit of exploring lately and have been learning about the flavors, effects, and benefits unique to each plant. It has become a nightly ritual to share a pot before bed, usually over an episode or two of House of Cards. There is nothing more comforting than snuggling up with a warm cup of tea on a chilly evening!
When it came time to brainstorm my annual Valentine's dessert, I knew I wanted to incorporate our newfound penchant for tea into a delicious treat. I decided to take a classic panna cotta and infuse it with the delicate flavor of Earl Grey tea. Topped with a blackberry compote, each spoonful was a silky bite of rich, creamy goodness mixed with a juicy pop of sweetness. I am kind of hooked, and will be making more this weekend.
If you'd like to try this simple and delicious treat, you will need:
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup tea of your choice
1 packet of unflavored gelatin
1 pint organic blackberries
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 half lemon
I chose basic Earl Grey tea because its deep flavor pairs well with milkiness of the dessert. You can really go to town experimenting with different teas. I cannot wait to try this recipe with chai, matcha, and floral blends.
If you are using loose tea leaves, you can steep the leaves directly in the cream mixture, and drain with a sieve. I opted to use cotton sachets, which are much easier for cleanup. Note - It may be necessary to tweak the amount of tea and steeping time, based on the type of tea you are working with and boldness of flavor you desire.
Combine the milk, cream, and sugar together in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the mixture starts steaming - do not allow to come to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk gelatin into the mixture until dissolved. Add tea and steep for 3-5 minutes.
Remove and discard tea leaves, and ladle the flavored cream into individual bowls or ramekins. Teacups also make the perfect serving vessels! Cover with saran wrap before refrigerating to avoid developing yucky gelatin skin. Chill overnight before enjoying.
Blackberry compote is super easy to make, and it lends a tart sweetness to compliment the smokiness of Earl Grey tea. I strongly advise using organic blackberries because berries are considered "dirty" produce. Simply simmer 3 tbsp water, berries, sugar, and a squirt of lemon juice over low heat until the mixture reduces to a syrupy consistency and the berries become soft and juicy. Allow to cool, and drizzle (or, in my case, pour) over your dessert before serving.
Indulge with good company, or over a wonderful book! And hang in there - Spring is right around the corner :)