Sweet Almond Tea Panna Cotta

The first time that I invited people for dinner and didn’t think about the menu until three days before. Very unlike me. On the other hand quite in line with my current “I’m on vacation and don’t have a care in the world, so I’m totally relaxed” attitude. And I realised this is a good attitude, I shall stick with it for all future dinners.

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The only vague idea I’ve had for a couple of weeks is that I’d like to try a panna cotta made from my yummy-smelling Turkish apple tea. However, I have to admit that despite my “no risk, no fun” kitchen motto, this time I did a 1 serving trial run two days before the dinner. Didn’t want to risk the same disaster as with the goats’ cheese panna cotta last year. Still pulling a face remembering the taste of that. The apple tea panna cotta turned out really good but then my eye fell on my new Sweet Almond tea Friday afternoon, and I decided on the spot to make that for the Saturday dinner. So, back to “no risk, no fun”, after all.

One reason I love making panna cotta for guests is that you can prepare it ahead, the other being that everyone seems to like panna cotta. And there are so many possibilities for flavours that I know I will be trying many more panna cotta creations over time.

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This one turned out to be amazing. Infusing cream with tea can leave it with an overpowering taste of the tea. My 1 tea bag per serving turned out to be exactly the right amount for the Sweet Almond tea to be very discernible but not overpowering. And the addition of the caramelised almonds sort of underlines and rounds up the almond flavour. I love smelling the tea bags, and when I make this tea, I can’t help inhaling this heavenly scent with each sip. I just about managed not to put my nose into the panna cotta glass when the guests were here.

Strangely, when I looked at the list of ingredients of the Sweet Almond tea, I noticed there’s not a single tea leaf in there. It consists of apple pieces, cinnamon, almond slices, beetroot bits, and aromas. I was wondering whether one could create this tea at home by roasting the above ingredients. But then decided it’ll be easier to go buy the tea bags…

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Sweet Almond Tea Panna Cotta with Caramelised Almonds

500 ml cream
50 g sugar
4 gelatine leaves*
4 bags Sweet Almond Tea
½ cup almonds
½ cup raw cane sugar

Serves 4

*Note: 1 German gelatine sheet is 12 x 7 cm in size. This might vary in other countries!

Place the cream and tea bags in a pot, and bring to a boil. Once the cream is boiling, take it off the stove and let cool slightly. Refrigerate overnight. [I recommend covering the pot to avoid skin building on the surface.]

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The next day, soak gelatine leaves in cold water for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags from the cream, add sugar and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the gelatine leaves, add to the cream and stir well with a whisk to avoid lumps. Pour cream into individual moulds or glasses, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

For the caramelised almonds, dry roast them in a non-stick frying pan until they start to give off an aroma, then place them on a cutting board, or on a surface covered with baking paper.

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Slowly heat the sugar in the same pan, and once it’s all liquid then starts to thicken slightly, pour over the apple slices and let harden and cool.

Once the caramel has cooled, you can either break the whole thing into pieces (or try to – it didn’t work too well for me), or, like I did, cover it with some baking paper and use a hammer to break it into small(er) pieces.

To serve, remove panna cotta from fridge about 15 minutes before serving, and sprinkle with the caramelised almond pieces.

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