Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chai Panna Cotta

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, May 15, 2010

Perhaps a break from bread would be good before we continue our journey back to yeast and kneading. This one is easy and makes enough to serve 2 or manybe 3 people as an after-meal dessert. I've used all parts heavy cream so it's pretty rich and sinful, not too good for the waistline but I couldn't resist not eating sweet stuffs after a savoury meal. However, this is not too sweet and has a beautiful hint of spice.

I also would like to share how I unmoulded my Panna Cotta. Note this only works with panna cotta that comes with a sugar syrup to serve along. If it doesn't comes with a syrup to serve along, well then tweak it and reduce the sugar in the Panna Cotta and make a syrup to go with it. Because, if you have discovered what I'm about to tell you, you will never see Panna Cotta the same way again and unmoulding using hot water would be a fuss for you, simply because this is too easy!

The trick starts with using the right cup to hold your Panna Cotta. Use plastic cups, trust me. Any other cups will work too but plastic cup greatly ease the removals of these babies. Look at the picture above. You can serve it in its cup but it doesn't look that elegant compared to the first picture isn't it? There wasn't much to dress up because Panna Cotta simply speaks for itself. Luscious, beautiful wobbly little thing.

Having said that, if you also notice, many recipes that serve Panna Cotta in its mould often ask you to 'pour the syrup over only upon serving'. The reason is that the sugar syrup will soon find its way down the sides of the Panna Cotta and ingeniously loosen up the sides and edges for you. No thin, warm and wet knife, no soaking in hot water and count 1 to 10 required. So pour the cooled syrup (not the slightest warm is allowed!) over the Panna Cotta and let it sit for 5 minutes or even less.

Have a serving plate and place it over the Panna Cotta. Flip it upside down in one quick motion and wiggle it around. Don't worry about the Panna Cotta, it will not break apart, the recipe I'm about to provide makes the best texture Panna Cotta for me. Hold the plastic cup and press tt around, with your thumb and other fingers moving it in a circular motion. The Panna Cotta will just plop out onto the plate beautifully and the syrup acts as a lubricant and allows you to position your Panna Cotta at the centre.

Easy nifty little trick? Well of course, if you already know so, well, thanks for dropping by anyway :)

Chai Panna Cotta
(serves 2 or 3)

2/3 cup heavy cream or double cream
2 Chai Tea Bags (don't use Lipton, use those good stuffs, I'll take a picture of mine next time)
1 cup of spring water, not reboiled water from your electric kettle
2 tbsp castor sugar
2 tsp gelatine powder

Place 3 tbsp of the spring water (not hot) in a shallow plate. Sprinkle over the 2 tsp gelatine and let it swell for 5 minutes.

Combine the Chai tea leaves and remaining spring water in a small milk pot. Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat. Infuse for a couple of minutes and add in the sugar. Stir until dissolved turn off the heat. Sprinkle over the gelatine and whisk a minute until it has completely dissolved. Stir in the double cream and whisk to combine very well. Pour it into 2 or 3 tall plastic cups (those that you use for parties would do) and chill it in the fridge until set. Generally, overnight is the best since that will make sure your gelatine will not set/gel any further. I place it in a dessert fridge in my room so it doens't take on my leftover curry smell or my durian cheesecake smell. If you have to, cool it down completely, and cover with a plastic wrap before lacing it back in the fridge again to set.

Spiced Syrup
1 star anise
1 cardamom pod, bruised
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp water

Make a syrup with all the above and infuse a while to let the star anise and cardamom pod flavoured the syrup. Coll and chill it in the fridge until cold. If too thick, thin it down with water. To unmould, pour the syrup evenly over the plastic cups and let it stand for a couple of minutes. When all syrup has settled to the bottom of the cup, flip it onto a serving plate and wiggle until it plop out gently.

Serve immediately or chill in fridge until ready to serve.


I'm pretty fussy about my Chai. Chai simply means tea and I like using store bought springwater for it. Water boiled over and over again simply will not do because the bond between hydrogen and oxygen is broken. It makes for a very dull tasting tea to my palate. I also always open up the Chai Tea Bags and you'll be wondering the whole point of getting tea bags is so you save the hassle of having to strain it. But tea leaves will not release its full flavour if bounded by a muslin bag, not even if you press it well against the side of you cup. Any simmering longer than 5 minutes will make it bitter so don't think, the longer the infusion, the better. It doesn't work with Chai and Matcha. I feel all that makes a difference because I am fussy as I've said. I wouldn't call myself the tea connoisseur but this is what I drink. Feel free to use what you like, say use whatever water you want and keep the teabags intact.

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16 comments on "Chai Panna Cotta"

Shirley @ Kokken69 on May 15, 2010 at 8:22 PM said...

Quinn, thanks for the great tip!Beautiful Panna Cotta, indeed! I remember you once commented that you love creamy,milky stuff - I on the other hand am not a big fan of dairy products. I would probably try to substitute part of the cream with soya milk...:)

Su-yin on May 15, 2010 at 8:22 PM said...

Lovely. I just had a hoji tea pannacotta yesterday (which was delicious), and I'm sure a chai version is awesome too. :)

Anncoo on May 16, 2010 at 12:32 AM said...

Quinn, as I said before I've never tried chai before, so this one here is a must I going to try. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend.

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi on May 16, 2010 at 1:35 AM said...

Quinn, this is one great post!! Love your tips on unmolding panna cotta! So far, I've served mine in the serving vessels ... never try unmolding mine.

Chai panna cotta ... Hmmm ... Should be very scrumptious ... Haven't had mine spicy ... So far, only milk chocolate and fruity-yogurt type.

Christine on May 16, 2010 at 1:43 AM said...

This is new to me, looks yummy!

zurin on May 16, 2010 at 12:15 PM said...

as always its beautiful Quinn.. you amaze me. At your age I didnt make all this.. :))) I have some cream in my fridge.. i mite gv it a try and post this ;) I like that the recipe makes only 2 servings too.

Passionate About Baking on May 16, 2010 at 10:49 PM said...

Beautiful panna cotta, Quinn! I would like to see what chai you use. I've always wonder what is "chai". The simple decoration made the panna cotta looks elegant!

Anonymous said...

Where is the basic sweet bun dough recipe that you promised? If you are not willing to share then don't promise us in your previous post. How hard is it to take a picture of how you knead and the process since you are already taking pictures for the bun folding? What is the point of showing us pictures and the step-by-step of making it when you didn't even give us a 'how-to' base recipe?

Quinn on May 16, 2010 at 11:56 PM said...

@Anonymous: Jeez....gimme a break!If you read my Butter Coconut Layer Bun, you'll see that I did not promise anyone anything. Are you too ignorant to see that I've said "I'll try"? I feel I don't even need to answer the remaining of your questions cuz I'd be degrading myself to your level of intelligence. I'll show what I want to show and within my capability to show so take it or leave it. I hope you don't find it hard to digest the fact that this is my page and I can do what I like and I even have the choice to delete your comment but I chose to approve it, just so more people will shoot me for you. Yes, I'm evil. Here in my blog and comment form, we have manners so don't come back!

Food For Tots on May 17, 2010 at 10:04 AM said...

What a neat trick! I would never have thought that the method I use to remove tofu applies to this Panna Cotta too. Love the addition of Chai in this dessert! Perfect combination!

Kitchen Corner on May 17, 2010 at 3:32 PM said...

wow.. very smooth and silky panna cotta. I wish could try this now :P

Joanna on May 17, 2010 at 4:15 PM said...

oh may - this is incredibly lovely - not only i love recipe but I also love presentation and a cup XD I think i had those somewhere in a cupboard XD

Quinn on May 19, 2010 at 6:07 PM said...

Shirley: I really love anything with dairy in it, haha, you remember my comment! If you substitute part with soy milk, you might wanna increase the gelatine else it might not set completely and thus you can't overturn it.

Zurin: Thanks, * Blush....not that amazing. When you try making it, you'll be like, 'Anyone can make this. It's just cooked cream!'. It's funny how sometimes kitchen accidents turned out to be a pretty nifty trick!

Jane: I'll have a Chai Tea post up soon and will include the Chai Teabags that I use. I strongly doubt you can find it in Singapore...

Food-4-tots: Thanks, yeap. Saw your tofu post and it works with panna cotta as well! Thanks for the tofu tip. We learn from each other everyday...

Joanna: Yeah...grab that cup and make these! People who hate Chai loves this! Tells you something isn't it???

Cheers everyone!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! Gotta try this.

Blessed Homemaker on June 11, 2010 at 1:07 AM said...

Great idea to use disposable cups!

Anonymous said...

Great recipe! Thanks for sharing. I tried it last night and my friends absolutely loved it!

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