Thursday, November 30, 2006

Plan B

After my proposal of Panna Cotta di Mate Cocido yesterday, I had every intention in making the pudding later the same day.

This is what tends to happen to me...I go into the kitchen with one plan and then somehow start working on another because something else has caught my fancy.

I thought about introducing another dimension to round out the tannin in Mate thus making it an "easier-sell" to the uninitiated. What could be sweet and smooth in addition to the milk and cream already on the ingredients list? Umm, I spotted bars of white chocolate...

Since I am to try out a new taste, I thought I'd at least use part of an existing recipe as a guide so I have based my Panna Cotta di Mate Cocido on Jamie Oliver's Green Tea Panna Cotta recipe. In his recipe, Oliver uses tea bags of "green tea" in the pudding and pairs the tea panna cotta with a dark chocolate sauce.

I was not entirely convinced that tea bags would yield a taste that can stand up to the dominant nature of dark chocolate so I stuck to my guns with my "softly-softly" approach of white chocolate. Instead of making a chocolate sauce, I also thought of adding the chocolate in the pudding itself so I could cut down on sugar. Since the addition of white chocolate would throw Jamie's liquid to gelatine ratio off-balance, I found other references and worked out my own recipe in the end. I then decided last minute to use Matcha in my first experiment.

Although my White Chocolate Matcha Panna Cotta bears very little resemblance, if any, to the celebrity chef's creation, Guillermo has taste-tested the result and declared it excellent so I'm game to share it here:
(our domestic goddess, Graciela, has just sampled it too - she bursted out with "Eso es exquisito! I love it even more than chocolate!" and is now urging me to sell them on the streets, "just don't tell people it is tea" she winked.)

The white chocolate is sweet enough so there is no additional sugar in my recipe. Also, the pudding is rich in taste and texture so I would recommend keeping the serving small, say 1/2 cup measure per person. Lastly, I didn't use a lot of gelatine leaves because I like my pudding in a quivering, inviting state and not some green rubber that could bounce off my lips.

200ml milk
100g white chocolate, chopped
2 heaped tps Matcha
300ml double cream
1 1/2 leaves* of gelatine, soaked in water

Dissolve matcha powder in some warm milk to form a smooth thin paste. Set aside.

Put the rest of the milk, white chocolate and half the cream in a small pan and slowly simmer for about 10 minutes until chocolate is completely melted and the mixtured thickened a little.

Remove from the heat. Squeeze out the gelatine leaves, discarding the soaking water, stir them into the mixture and leave to dissolve.

Allow to cool a little, place in the fridge, stirring occasionally until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it set.

Whip the remaining cream until soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mixture.

Divide into four small glasses or ramekins. Cover and chill for at least a couple of hours, preferably overnight. I served it plain but I think some lightly crushed raspberries would be a great addition.

*Leave gelatin vary in size and strength, please use package instruction as a guide.

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