To continue my Japanese love affair: an easy dessert to go with the black sesame shortbread. Originally inspired by my favourite dessert at Nanashi Bento, light, delicious, still a little jiggly. They serve it with a few blueberries and some whipped cream.
Matcha is a very fine green tea powder, used for the tea ceremony. Goma is black sesame. Make either or both. If you are particularly cunning, you could make two layers: make one batch of matcha, divide between 8 glasses, refrigerate to set, then pour a batch of goma on top. I prefer the texture of gelatine, but for vegetarians/vegans, agar-agar works too.
For a quick guide on how to gel absolutely anything, check out Bompas and Parr’s guide to jelly. They even made a jellied Christmas dinner. Though their method is slightly different to mine below, their principles and the conversion chart are excellent.
Matcha / goma pannacotta
makes 4 medium or 6 small
400ml coconut milk (or 1 tin)
30g honey or maple syrup
3 tsp matcha OR 30g black sesame paste
**3-4g leaf gelatine OR 2g agar agar (1 packet)
Heat half the coconut milk and the honey in a small saucepan.
If using gelatine, soak the leaves in a bowl of cold water. When it is soft, drain off all the water. When the coconut milk feels warm, but not so hot that it will burn your hand, add gelatine and stir to melt. (Above 60C and the gelatine will not set properly.)
If using agar agar, sprinkle the powder over the coconut milk before you heat it up. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
Use the other half of the coconut milk to dilute the matcha powder or sesame paste, adding a little liquid at a time until smooth. You can do this by shaking it in a little jar, whisking it, or in a blender.
Once the heated coconut milk and gelatine/agar agar is ready, combine with the matcha / goma. Whisk or blend to combine well.
Pour into 4-6 glasses and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. To speed up the process, carefully place glasses in the freezer until the liquid sets.
Serve with fresh fruit, like persimmon or raspberries, some whipped cream and a drizzle of honey.
**If you want to unmold your pannacotta, use 4g leaf gelatine and lightly grease the glasses with a neutral oil. If they do not slide out easily, dip the bottom of the glasses in hot water to loosen them. If you plan on serving in the glasses, 3g should suffice for a delicately wobbly texture. For most gelatine found in supermarkets, 1 leaf = 1g.