One of my favorite ways to decompress from the week is drinking tea. There is just something about the experience of drinking tea that calms me down. Some of my favorite teas are matcha, earl grey, and oolong. In addition to drinking tea, I love incorporating them into desserts. Over the last 2 years, I have made so many tea related desserts like my super popular matcha cookies and my earl grey mochi donuts. This oolong panna cotta is another addition into my club of tea related desserts. It is a smooth, creamy panna cotta infused with the subtle flavor of oolong tea.
Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments
- Oolong tea leaves – Oolong is a Chinese tea that originates from the same plant as green and black teas. The only differences is the amount of oxidation and how the tea leaves are rolled and twisted. This tea provides a very subtle flavor to this panna cotta. If you don’t have oolong tea or don’t like it, substitute with whatever tea you have.
- Gelatin – This ingredient provides the jello-like texture to the panna cotta. There is not substitute to gelatin.
- Heavy cream & whole milk – Adds richness and creaminess to the panna cotta.
- Vanilla extract – Adds more flavor to the dessert. I would recommend using vanilla paste or 1 vanilla bean for better flavor.
- Granulated sugar – Adds sweetness to the dessert. I wouldn’t substitute any other kind of sugar for this dessert because it will affect the taste and texture.
Making my oolong panna cotta
First mix gelatin and water in a small bowl. Set aside. The next step is to steep the oolong tea. Add the oolong tea leaves to a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream and whole milk until warm (~120 degrees F). Pour cream over the tea leaves and let them steep for 30 minutes. Steep for longer for a stronger flavor. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.
After the tea is done steeping, strain the cream into a small sauce pan. You can use the same one you used to heat the cream. Heat the cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. Remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract, sugar, and bloomed gelatin from the first step. Stir until the sugar and gelatin have melted. Let it cool for 5 minutes until lukewarm. Pour the cream into cups or ramekins. I used three 4-ounce cups. Cool completely at room temperature. Place in the fridge and let it set for 4 hours or overnight. I would highly recommend letting it set overnight. Garnish with fresh fruit and enjoy.
Tips on how to make the perfect oolong panna cotta
- How to prevent the panna cotta from forming a skin – The biggest issue I had in my first test was that my panna cotta formed a skin on the surface. It did not look appetizing. The reason it formed a skin was because I let my cream boil. For panna cotta, make sure to bring the temperature of your cream to just under boiling (~180 degrees F) and remove it from the heat. This will prevent a skin from forming.
- Cool in the fridge overnight – You can probably get a pretty decent panna cotta after letting it set for 4 hours, but for the best results, let it set overnight.
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Oolong Panna Cotta
- Combine gelatin and water in a small bowl and mix. Set aside to bloom.
- Add oolong tea leaves to another small bowl. Heat heavy cream and whole milk over medium heat until warm (~120 degrees F). Pour cream over the tea leaves and let steep for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.
- Strain the cream into a small sauce pan. Heat the cream to 180 degrees F. Remove from heat and add in the sugar, vanilla extract, and bloomed gelatin from step 1. Mix until the sugar and gelatin dissolves.
- Let mixture sit for 5 minutes to cool. Stir every few minutes to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.
- Pour cream into cups or ramekins. Cool completely to room temperature.
- Cover with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge. Let them set for 4 hours or overnight. I would highly recommend letting them set overnight.
- Garnish with fruit and enjoy!