This Earl Grey Panna Cotta features a special twist on the iconic Italian classic treat we all love. The infusion of this herby tea adds a soft, earthy flavor to the rather mild-tasting, original Panna Cotta. Paired with a sweet and fruity blueberry-grape compote, this beautiful, yet simple, dessert is definitely designed to impress. And you just need 30 minutes of your time to prepare it!
Panna Cotta is a popular Italian dessert, and literally means, and is, ‘cooked cream’. The original version only includes a few simple ingredients, like milk, sugar, vanilla and heavy cream, and, to create its custard-like consistency, a little bit of gelatine, as well. You can enrich the flavor of this classic dessert in many different ways, but I love to infuse it with the earthy flavor of Earl Grey tea. It is sublime because it makes the Panna Cotta taste a little bit herby and gives it a unique twist.
Earl Grey tea is a tea blend flavored with bergamot oil. This oil is added to the black tea base, and this is what gives Earl Grey tea its unique taste. I couldn’t find fresh Earl Grey tea in my neighborhood, so for this recipe, I used Earl Grey tea bags, and to intensify its flavor, I added a tablespoon of fresh Black tea leaves, as well. If you can, use fresh Earl Grey tea leaves only, to get a richer flavor from the infusion. If not, just add some fresh Black tea leaves, just as I did, or add another bag of dried Earl Grey tea if you can’t find any fresh tea leaves.
Getting the consistency of the Earl Grey Panna Cotta right is key. We want a silky, smooth, melt-in-your-mouth kind of consistency, rather than something thick and bubbly.
If you’ve already mastered the art of baking and pastries you know that baking = science. It requires a lot of precision, especially with the measurements of your ingredients in order to get the right consistency of your curds, creams and mousses. Side note: that’s actually the reason why I didn’t like pastry classes so much at the beginning of my chef education.. Buuuut, I quickly learned that I had to learn this if I wanted to get the desired result.
This recipe is very simple, but if you want to get the soft, creamy consistency, you have to be precise when measuring out the gelatin and the water that you use to dissolve it.
Despite the heavy cream, the Earl Grey Panna Cotta is quite a light and not-too- sweet gluten-free dessert, perfect for the warmer months or after a heavier meal. Get ready for a light, melt-in-your-mouth treat.
EARL GREY PANNA COTTA WITH BLUEBERRY-GRAPE COMPOTE
Earl Grey Panna Cotta
- 150 ml whole or skim milk
- 60 g white sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 Earl Grey tea bags add another tea bag if you do not have fresh black tea leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh Black tea leaves
- 400 g heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 g powdered gelatin plus 35 cl water to dissolve it
- 1 tbsp transparent and neutral tasting vegetable oil optional
- 150 g fresh blueberries
- 150 g fresh red grapes
- 80 g white sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
- 1 pinch of salt
Earl Grey Panna Cotta
- If you plan to unmold the panna cotta, lightly grease your molds by drizzling some neutral vegetable oil on a paper towel and wipe the inside of your molds with it. If you plan to serve the panna cotta in glasses, you can leave them uncoated.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, heat milk, sugar, salt until they simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the tea bags and fresh tea leaves, and cover with a lid. Allow to steep for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl or cup, dissolve gelatine with water, by drizzling the water over the gelatine, stirring it in with a fork until gelatine has dissolved, and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, mix vanilla extract with heavy cream, and set aside.
- Remove the tea bags from the milk, gently squeezing the excess liquid back into the milk. To remove the loose tea leaves, strain the milk mixture through a strainer directly into a big bowl. Add the heavy cream with the vanilla extract to the mixture and combine thoroughly with a spatula.
- Without boiling it, gently heat up the dissolved gelatine in the microwave for 15 – 30 seconds (or in a small saucepan if you do not have a microwave), until it is hot and liquidy, and incorporate it fully into the mixture with a spatula.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared molds/glasses, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it has set for at least 4 hours, or overnight. If you want to create a panna cotta that has a more artistic, gourmet, diagonal design in the glass, as in one of the photos above, place your glass on top of a container with a slightly smaller opening and simply angle the glass slightly crooked. Then, pour in the mixture and let it cool in the refrigerator in this position.
- Wash and dry all the fruit and with a small knife, halve the grapes and remove all the seeds.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together the blueberries, grapes, sugar, and salt. Then, bring this mixture to a boil on high heat, and add in the cinnamon stick (or ground cinnamon if you do not have a stick). Immediately minimize heat and let this simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved and the fruit has released some of its juices. The longer you simmer, the more liquidy your compote will become. Remove the saucepan from the heat and take out the cinnamon stick. Finally, transfer the fruit and their liquid to a container, let it cool down to room temperature and place in the refrigerator for later.
- If you unmold your panna cotta, slide a sharp knife around the edges of the panna cotta to remove it from the border of your glass. Next, dip the bottom of the mold into a pot of hot water for a few seconds before carefully turning it over onto a serving plate. Spoon the blueberry-grape compote on top. If you want to serve the panna cotta in glasses, simply spoon some blueberry-grape compote into them.