This year I was emphatic that our Valentine’s dinner would not be complete without the perfect final course! Days before, Andy and I had decided to go with one of our favorites–a simple, but intensely flavored Thai dish as the main course. I was left to decide on the ever-so-important final course and I couldn’t think of anything more perfectly suited to end this meal than a creamy panna cotta–which I, of course, had never made before. But I did remember sitting at my doctor’s office years earlier (7, to be exact), nauseously browsing the pages of some cooking magazine while waiting for my impending and much anticipated diagnosis of ‘the flu’, when I found this recipe. Maybe it was my sore throat or low-grade fever that made me rip this puppy out of the magazine just as I was being called by the enthusiastic receiving nurse–I don’t really know, but I am sure glad that I did! Isn’t it funny how the mind works–I can’t remember what I did yesterday, but I can remember the details of finding this recipe years earlier…and so it goes. Since then, this delicious recipe has patiently been waiting amongst many others for my culinary attention. Valentine’s 2011 was it’s big debut and let me tell you it was nothing short of perfection. In fact, I am confident that our Valentine’s dinner would have received top reviews even from the likes of the Andy Haylers of the world–at least that is what MY sweet Andy believes! This dessert is simple to make, beautiful on the plate, and silky soft and sweet on the tongue! I encourage you to give this a try on your next special evening at home with your sweetie or with friends! Don’t be intimidated by the matcha–it is easily sourced from your local asian grocer and can be used for many different creations (green tea coconut latte sound good about now???)!
Green Tea Panna Cotta
- 1 t unflavored gelatin
- 1 T cold water
- 1 c + 2 T heavy cream or coconut milk (Silk)
- 3 T vanilla sugar
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 t Matcha
Place the cold water in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on top to dissolve and set aside.
In a small sauce pan, heat 1 c heavy cream (or the coconut milk*) with the sugar on low until the sugar is dissolved–about 3 minutes. Whisk in the gelatin mix well until smooth. *If using more or mostly coconut milk (vs cream), you may want to add a little more gelatin to be sure the panna cotta thickens enough to remove from the ramekin for serving. I usually end up using a minimum of 1/2 cream for the best mouth feel and texture.
In a small bowl, whisk 1 t matcha with 2 T cream (or coconut milk) until smooth. Mix this with the remaining cream mixture and divide among three ramekins or custard cups. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until the gelatin has set.
To serve, fill a lasagna pan with very hot water. Dip the ramekins in the water for 30 seconds to loosen the sides; invert the cup and shake gently until the custard is released onto your serving dish. Garnish with whatever you like–small bits of dark chocolate, fresh raspberries or strawberries, toasted coconut or NOTHING!
Serve this dessert with your favorite beverage and lots of LOVE!