As I had guests over last weekend for dinner, I was looking for a fusion dessert and when I saw the black sesame panna cotta recipe by Michael Laiskonis, the former pastry chef at Le Benardin, I knew this was it.
However, I had to improvise as I didn’t have black sesame paste and had to make my own by first roasting some black sesame and then using a pestle and mortar to ground it.
The first attempt didn’t turn out too bad taste-wise but I didn’t like the layer of black sesame residue that sunk to the bottom. I had strained it with a normal strainer but apparently it needed to be a chinois with an extremely fine mesh. It just didn’t look very appealing.
I was wondering how I could do it without a chinois and realized that I have some empty teabags which I usually fill with green tea leaves. I could put the sesame paste I made into these teabags and infuse it in the basic panna cotta mixture.
This time around, it worked and was much more presentable. The basic panna cotta recipe and the sesame variation have been adapted from Michael Laiskonis.
Being in an experimental mood, I also decided to make green tea panna cotta and thought why not azuki panna cotta too! Yeah, I got carried away.
Basic Panna Cotta Recipe
Ingredients – Makes 4 ramekins
4g gelatin (I used gelatin sheets)
cold water as needed
140g heavy cream
100g whole milk
2. In a saucepan or pot, add heavy cream and sugar, gently warming over medium heat
3. Remove from heat, add gelatin and stir to dissolve.
4. Temper into milk and pour into ramekins.
5. Chill for 2-3 hours until set.
Panna Cotta Recipe – Black Sesame Variation
Ingredients for Basic Panna Cotta + 25g black sesame paste.
1. Since I had the black sesame paste in the fillable teabag, I added it to the Step 2 to let it infuse with the heavy cream and sugar mixture.
2. I took out the bag from the mixture when I removed it from the heat. Then added the gelatin.
3. Temper into milk and pour into ramekins.
4. Chill for 2-3 hours until set.
Panna Cotta Recipe – Green Tea Variation
Ingredients for Basic Panna Cotta + 2-3 tsp of green tea powder
Add green tea powder in Step 3 of the basic recipe together with gelatin and follow the remaining steps.
If you don’t have green tea powder, you have two options. Ground the tea leaves and use a fine sieve to get the powder or place tea leaves in the fillable teabag and follow the same procedure as the black sesame variation by infusing it in the heavy cream and sugar mixture.
Panna Cotta Recipe – Azuki Variation
Ingredients for Basic Panna Cotta + 80g azuki paste lightly sweetened
I made my own azuki paste and it was chunky. You can choose to puree it for a finer texture. I added the paste in Step 3 of the basic panna cotta recipe.
My Favorite Variation
It was difficult to choose a favorite and finally decided it was black sesame variation. However, the azuki panna cotta was a very close second.
Luca would disapprove of my experiments as he prefers classic recipes. Obviously, I made him basic panna cotta recipe and served it with chocolate sauce.
Which panna cotta recipe would you make?