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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Green Tea Panna Cotta

Finalmente! Finally I've gotten my act together and made Green Tea Panna Cotta with the "matcha" sent all the way across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans from Alan and his family. Working with the "matcha" was truly a learning experience.

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The powered green tea was a gorgeous color. The colors of celery, celadon, lime, grass bamboo all blended together to produce one of the most intense green's I've ever seen. I felt as if I was working with fine paint granules instead of a food product.

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If you've ever eaten sushi with wasabi paste then you know that soy sauce should be added to the paste bit by bit at first until a thick paste is achieved. If you add all the soy sauce at once then all you get is soy sauce with green clumps floating in it. It was pretty much the same thing with the "matcha". It clumps up when a large amount of liquid is added to it. I have seen Japanese Tea Ceremonies on T.V. and realize now why a whisk is used to blend the tea with the hot water.

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Here is the panna cotta cooling and getting ready to be placed in to the refrigerator to cool. I used two kinds of ramekins. One was the traditional one you see here, thick and ceramic. The other was a rounded chrome ramekin. I preferred the metal one, after I ran my knife around the edges and gave it a dip in hot water, the panna cotta slipped out easily.

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Here's the finished product with a ginger spiced creme anglaise and a light dusting of "matcha" on top. I was excited to see how my desserts turned out so I woke up early and eat them for breakfast.

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A few tasting notes: The panna cotta held its shape when un-molded and I was afraid I used too much gelatin. I was working with leaf gelatin and I was not sure how to substitute 1 T. Knoxx gelatin with the leaf variety, so I made two versions. One with one sheet of gelatin and the other with two sheets. The panna cotta was delicious, properly set, not too hard, not too soft, creamy, and smooth. Deme gave it a taste and said it had a tiny bit of a bitter aftertaste. I agreed somewhat but green tea does taste bitter without sugar. I did not want a cloyingly sweet dessert. I was hoping to reveal the true flavor of green tea and I think I accomplished that goal. If I make this dessert again soon, I made make two versions and compare them; one with a bit more sugar than the other.
Here's the winning recipe:

Green Tea Panna Cotta
Makes 4 servings
2 sheets gelatin
2 C. cream
2 T. sugar (or more to taste)
Dash of vanilla extract or better half a pod of fresh
½ t. matcha
¼ t. grated ginger
1. In a large bowl, soak gelatin sheets in cold water and let dissolve.
2. In a small bowl, add 1-2 drops of water at a time to the matcha and blend with a mini whisk or with the back of a spoon until a thick syrupy consistency is achieved.
3. In a large sauce pan add the cream and ginger over medium heat, stirring until just boiling. Remove the pan from the heat.
4. Take the gelatin sheets out of the water, squeeze out the excess water and add to the sauce pan along with the vanilla and the matcha. Stir or whisk.
5. Divide the cream mixture among 4 ramekins and let cool to room temp.
6. Cover, chill for at least 4 hours.
7. Run a knife around the edge of the ramekins then dip them in a bowl of hot water for 3-5 seconds. Invert onto a small plate and serve with a sauce or garnish.

Ginger Crème Anglaise
2 egg yolks
2 t. sugar
1 C. milk
Dash of vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 T. grated ginger
1. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and the sugar.
2. Scald milk, pinch of salt and ginger in a small sauce pan.
3. Temper eggs with a bit of warm milk, a ladleful at a time until all the milk has been added to the eggs.
4. Return the entire mixture to the sauce pan. Add vanilla and cook on low until crème coats the back of a spoon.
5. Test by dipping wooden spoon into crème mixture. Run your finger across the crème that coats the back of the spoon. If the crème is thick enough, the line you’ve created with your finger will hold and will not run.
6. Cool then chill and reserve for later use.


At 4:03 AM, Anonymous trench said...

Green Tea Ice Cream is one of my favorites. The photos are making me hungry. The green really stands out too!

At 10:20 AM, Anonymous joey said...

You are making me crave for Green Tea anything! That Panna Cotta sure looks sublime! :)

At 2:36 PM, Anonymous alan said...

I've never worked with leaf gelatin. Is it easily obtained? Thanks for posting the recipes-- I'll be trying them soon.

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Gia said...

I have a culinary competition coming up ... Pastries in Paradise...theme "Sweet Dreams", theme ingredient: Tapioca ... gimme some ideas!!!!

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Judith in Umbria said...

Tapioca? I just like it, but my mother used to use it in fruit pies instead of flour for thickening... is there an idea in there?
I used leaf gelatin or fish glue in a Bavarian recipe and it was a lieral flop.

At 1:11 AM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

I think a tapioca pudding with coconut, passion fruit or even sour sop would be great sis.

At 1:27 AM, Blogger fiordizucca said...

oh that its beautiful!! i am just obsessed with green tea. so glad i found this recipe :) ありがと!

At 1:29 AM, Anonymous rowena said...

Those images are absolutely GORGEOUS! The green is incredible... never worked with matcha before.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Gia said...

I asked mom for her warm tapioca puddling with bananas recipe...there are no measurements so I'll have to experiment. AND there is a secret "step" she asked me not to reveal.

At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Diana said...

oh my god. I think you are a FUSION QUEEN!!! That is so fabulous. I swear, my italian friends here in the hinterlands love "fusion-a". And if they see this, they will never let you go back to Torino!!!


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