Author Notes: I love Ahmad Afternoon Tea - a bracing cuppa with a fragrant hint of bergamot (in this case, the peel of the ungainly citrus fruit, not the herb of the same name). A creamy panna cotta is warmed by the smokiness of the tea and a splash of bourbon. And a simple compote of dried, cold weather cranberries reinforces the tea theme. In summer, I switch to fresh raspberries.
Earl Grey delivers similar but more delicate results. If you substitute it for Ahmad Afternoon, add a scoop of a strong, breakfast-type blend. - Marie Viljoen
Food52 Review: I loved the addition of bourbon to the panna cotta; it was a beautifully smoky background to the milky flavor. And the cherries made a tart, boozy complement to the creamy panna cotta. Next time, I'll steep the tea a bit more for a stronger flavor. - Omeletta
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 packet powdered gelatin
- 3 cups cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 strips lemon zest, 3" x .25"
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 tablespoons strong bergamot tea (brewed about 5 minutes)
- Pour the milk into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Turn off the heat and sprinkle the gelatin over the milk to soften.
- Stir thoroughly to dissolve.
- In another saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups of the cream, the sugar, and the lemon zest, stirring the mixture to dissolve the sugar.
- Bring the mixture to a brief boil, then immediately remove it from the heat.
- Take out the strips of lemon zest.
- Add the warm milk and gelatin mixture to the hot cream and whisk very well to dissolve any stubborn gelatin lumps.
- Pour through a strainer into a bowl, and leave to cool
- Add 1 tablespoon of bourbon and 2 tablespoons of strong tea.
- Whip the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream to soft peaks.
- Mix gently into the cooled cream mixture.
- Swirl the remaining tablespoon of bourbon around the base and sides of each panna cotta mold to wet each one, pouring it into the next mold when one has been wet (use more if you run out!).
- Pour the cream mixture into small, individual molds, cover, and chill for at least 3 hours.
- To unmold, slide a knife dipped in boiling water around the edge of each mold, or dip mold briefly in hot water. Invert swiftly onto individual plates.
Bergamot-Infused Cranberry Compote
- 1 cup strong bergamot tea (brewed about 5 minutes)
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 3/4 cups dried cranberries
- Pour the hot tea and the bourbon over the cranberries and leave to infuse for at least 3 hours, or as long as overnight, in the fridge.
- To serve, scatter a couple of tablespoons of plump cranberries around each unmolded panna cotta.