Strawberry, White Choc and Matcha Panna Cotta
While we're on the topic of Japan flavour flashbacks, there is no way I can not mention Matcha!
I had never tasted Matcha before I landed on Japanese soil, I had definitely heard of it! Because it's been all the rage here in Australia due to it's status as a super food.
According to Matcha Source, Matcha is...packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg, it boosts metabolism and burns calories, detoxifies effectively and naturally, calms the mind and relaxes the body, is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins, enhances mood and aids in concentration, provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium, prevents disease, and lowers cholesterol and blood sugar.
That makes me feel a little better about downing all these Panna Cotta's today!
husband: "Dayna, it doesn't work like that"
During our time in Japan I fell head over heels in love with the bitter sweet taste of Matcha! In every cafe and bakery we frequented there were Matcha flavoured sweets and drinks and Mochi and ice-creams... anything and everything you could possibly dream of! I was in heaven!
But since we've been back in the land of Aus, despite it's popularity as a super food, I haven't been able to find a single example of Matcha in a single cafe's or bakery, not even the trendy ones!
So it looks like I'll just have to fix my Matcha desserts myself, *sigh* Get your act together Australia!
MY TIPS FOR MASTERING THIS BAKE
#1 Avoid allowing your mixture to boil. Some gelatines are sensitive to boiling temperatures and exposure to this sort of heat can cause it to lose it ability to set, so better to be safe than sorry. This isn't a given, so if you accidentally allow the gelatin to boil, don't immediately throw away all your hard work, just keep an eye on it.
#2 My first attempt at these turned into mousse, I wanted the mixture smooth, so I popped it in a blender... but it aerated it FAR too much. So to avoid making this same mistake, don't be tempted to use anything other than a hand whisk, and be gentle with it. Avoid allowing the whisk to break the surface of the mixture too regularly, and pass your mixture through a sieve before pouring it into your moulds.
#3 To prevent your strawberries from floating to the surface of your panna cotta while it sets, press the slice down firmly into the base of your moulds, and rub it around in the oil to press any air out from under it and form a suction seal beneath it. Also avoid using silicone moulds unless they're already set flat on a baking tray to avoid the bases from moving and breaking the seal.
#4 If your mixture turns lumpy when the milk is introduced, it simply means that the milk was too cold and it's partially set the gelatin on contact. Don't worry! it's salvageable. Simply keep the saucepan over a low heat while you whisk and it will soon melt back in.
#5 As mentioned in tip #3, if you're using silicone cupcake moulds, ensure they're set on a baking tray BEFORE you tip your panna cotta mix in. I didn't think this far forward, poured in my batter, and then started at it blankly wondering how I was going to now get that flexible silicone cupcake tray to the fridge...
#6 Be patient when removing your panna cottas from their moulds, they won't just fall out of their moulds, they will slllowwlly slip out. So tilt your tin or ramekins almost completely upside down, you want to hold them on a slight angle as if you hold them directly upside-down you will form a suction under them and they'll want to stay put. A slight angle allows for them to slide down the side of their mould and then out. If they really won't budge, run a sharp knife around the outside of the mould to free them, and try again.
Be sure to send us a photo of your batch and let us know how ‘yummy’ it was!