White Tea Jelly, Lychee and Vanilla Panna Cotta

lycheeDo u know that some lychee trees just refuse to bear fruit for years, decades even? But once the tree finally decided that it is time to give us humans a treat, it will havest the juiciest lychees and send you to lychee heaven. I got this piece of info from my neighbour actually. She is a frequent traveler to China. Not for work, but for pure leisure. She shared that once she visited Hainan Island, which happened to be during the lychee season. There was this particular wild lychee tree that havested so much of the fruit and they ate it straight from the tree. She described those lychees like they were some fruits from heaven. Utterly sweet and juicy like no other. She was told that the tree didn’t bear fruit for more than a decade! And when it finally did, she was there to devour. How very lucky!

Tea Jelly 2

Not long ago, she just came back from another China trip. And she brought us lychees. Sweet, fat, juicy lychees. Being a dessert lover, I can’t help but had to make something out of these jewels. I remembered one particular recipe, the Lychee Jelly with Vanilla Panna Cotta from a book I found years ago, Cook in Boots, authored by Ravinder Bhogal. I bought the book because I was attracted to her shoes. And her recipes were all very comforting and totally my kind.

tea jelly 5 The recipe calls for lychee juice or apple juice for the jelly, but at the time, I didn’t have any of them. While sipping on freshly brewed TWG white tea that afternoon, inspiration came. The soft fragrance of white tea should make a good alternative to the juice. And so I brewed another pot of the tea to make the jelly. That lightly sweetened tea jelly with the fragrant sweet lychees and creamy vanilla panna cotta, were the most amazing combination ever! I was literally jumping when I tasted it. You really have to make this soon.

tea jelly 4If you can’t find lychee, just use other fresh fruits. I think peaches can actually be wonderful too. This is a fun recipe to play around. You can venture on different types of tea and fruits and I am sure they will all turn out like a rockstar.

tea jelly recipe 2

White Tea Jelly, Lychee and Vanilla Panna Cotta
(Makes 3 wine glasses)

For the jelly :
9 lychees
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp loose white tea leaves
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
3 sheets gelatine

place 3 lychees to each dessert or wine glass.
soak the gelatine in cold water to soften.
pour boiling water over tea leaves in a pot.
steep for 5 minutes. then strain.
stir in sugar until dissolve.
squeeze out the water from gelatine,
add to the warm tea and stir until dissolved.
refrigerate for about 4 hours until set.

For the panna cotta :
2 sheets gelatine
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste

soak the gelatine in cold water to soften.
place cream, milk & sugar in a pot and bring to a simmer.
do not boil.
remove from heat, stir in the vanilla paste and stir well.
squeeze out water from gelatine, add to the pot and stir
until dissolved.
leave until cold, the pour over the lychee jelly and refrigerate
for a further 2 hours or until set. devour.


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