Hi! The holiday excitement on the internet is so infectious! Even though it's about 32 degrees, i have been making myself mint hot chocolate and getting in the spirit by listening to this playlist. When I was growing up, I put up a tree every year, except it wasn't really a tree, but a little cluster of passion fruit vines. I would hang tinsel from it and decorate it with baubles that my sisters collected and are, in all probability, older than I am. I still have them stowed away somewhere, but I have dust allergies now, so I'll settle for sipping hot chocolate and watching Love Actually.
We have an annual christmas sale that takes place in Kannur every year, and it always gets the town bustling for a few days. The food is usually the highlight, and this year didn't disappoint. There was christmas cake and pot pies, tuna wraps and nutella bars and because this is the Malabar after all, three types of biryani.
We've been doing a lot of cooking ourselves, and one of the things we made this week was an earl grey and honey panna cotta. I like my desserts to be either subtle, or bright and fresh and this panna cotta definitely falls into the subtle category. The mellow flavours of honey and earl grey get a playful jostle from the sprinkling of crushed cardamom added at the very end. It's almost a compromise between eating a heavy, rich dessert and skipping it altogether, drinking a cup of tea instead :)
Earl Grey and Honey Panna Cotta
To make the Earl Grey layer, dip an Earl Grey teabag into the boiling water for a minute. Remove and discard.
Take the gelatin in a bowl, add two tablespoons of the decoction to it and microwave for 20 seconds on high setting. Pour the gelatin mixture into the tea and mix until dissolved. Add honey and mix again.
Pour the earl grey mixture into 6 panna cotta moulds or ramekins that have been lightly greased with non-stick cooking spray.
Refrigerate until the earl grey layer is soft-set and only slightly wobbly. This will take about 2 hours. (if too soft, the panna cotta will seep into the earl grey layer, and if too firm, the panna cotta layer will not stick to the earl grey, and will slide off when serving).
Meanwhile prepare the panna cotta by putting the gelatin in a bowl and adding two tablespoons of milk to it and let it sit for a few minutes, until it looks like the gelatin has absorbed some of the milk. Stir well. Heat the rest of the milk in a saucepan. As it starts to simmer,
Pour the gelatin mixture into the saucepan and stir until all the gelatin is dissolved.
Next, add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
Add the honey and cream and mix well. Set the mixture aside.
When the earl grey layer is soft-set, carefully pour the panna cotta mixture over it and refrigerate again, until completely set, about 6 hours.
When ready to serve, gently slide a knife around the edges of the panna cotta to dislodge it from the sides, hold a dessert plate over the top of the ramekin/mould and quickly upturn it. It should slide smoothly into the plate.
Top with crushed cardamom and serve immediately.
For the Earl Grey topping:
1 Earl Grey tea bag
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp gelatin powder
2 tbsp honey, or to taste
3 pods of cardamom, crushed
For the panna cotta:
1 cup whole milk
1 cup fresh cream
2 tsp gelatin powder
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sugar