I really, really love my job. It might not be for everyone, but I can’t even imagine a better way to spend an afternoon than making Lavender Chai Panna Cotta. Really, I just can’t.
A few weeks ago, Tazo Tea contacted me to see if I would be interested in participating in their blogger “Tazo Cook-Off”. Basically, I would be sent a different “secret ingredient” every week for three weeks and then formulate a recipe using that ingredient as well as a specific kind of Tazo tea.
Tazo is not paying me to do this….I just thought it sounded like a lot of fun!
So, recipe number one: Lavender Chai Panna Cotta. I think panna cottas are seriously underrated in the dessert world. They always seem to take the back burner to their creme brulee cousin, and for no good reason! Panna cottas are far simpler to make than creme brulee and much lighter as well. And while they don’t involve using a blow torch, they do have pretty much the same creamy texture.
First, combine a half cup milk with a cup of cream in a medium sized pot.
Add one tablespoon of culinary grade lavender (make sure it’s culinary grade though—you don’t want stuff that’s been sprayed with icky pesticides!),
the contents of one chai teabag
and two tablespoons sugar. Stir GENTLY but try to keep the sugar on the bottom of the pot. This prevents the milk from scalding.
Place the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium/low.
Right when little bubbles appear around the sides, give it a stir and take it off the heat. By this time the sugar should have dissolved. Now, add a half tsp of vanilla paste or a full tsp of vanilla extract.
I HIGHLY recommend vanilla paste. It makes all the difference in the world in final products. One teaspoon of vanilla paste equals one full vanilla bean, so you know it’s legit.
After you have stirred in the vanilla, add a teaspoon and a half of powdered gelatine.
And stir again. Now here’s the hardest part of the entire recipe.
You must strain! Technically you should use either cheesecloth or a chinois, but make due with what you have. A few lavender buds won’t kill ya.
Pour the mixture into panna cotta molds, or in this case, little tea cups. I thought tea cups would be cute considering tea is a main ingredient!
Stick the panna cottas in the fridge and let chill for a few hours, or preferably overnight. This is a great make-ahead recipe!
Lavender Chai Panna Cottas
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup reduced fat milk or whole milk (do NOT use skim milk. They won’t turn out right!)
2 T sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 T culinary grade lavender
1 Tazo Chai teabag, opened
1.5 tsps powdered gelatine
Heat the cream, milk, sugar, lavender and tea in a medium sized pot over low heat. Right when little bubbles start to form around the sides of the pot, take it off the heat and add the gelatine and vanilla. Stir well and strain through a chinois or small holed strainer.
Carefully pour mixture into tiny bowls, tea cups or panna cotta molds and let chill in the fridge for about four hours or overnight.