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Smoky Lapsang Souchong Panna Cotta S'mores

Submitted by: Katherine ToastPoint

Mounds of chilled panna cotta flavored with lapsang souchong and vanilla on a mosaic of warm graham crackers and drizzled with dark chocolate. The tea makes the panna cotta sweetly smoky, tints it an appealing warm brown, and cuts the richness of the cream. And the s'mores experience was excitingly reversed--the creamy, smoky element was cold and soothing, while the crackers and chocolate provided heat and texture.

Prep Time: Prep: 20 min. Chill: Several hours
Serving Size: serves 6
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin (2 1/4 tsp.)
  • 4 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or one vanilla bean, split)
  • 2-3 tbsp. lapsang souchong tea leaves
  • 12 graham crackers
  • 3 oz. dark chocolate or hot fudge
In a small bowl, combine but do not stir the gelatin and cold water.
While that rests, combine in a saucepan over medium-high heat the cream, sugar, vanilla, and tea leaves.
Heat gently until the mixture begins to barely simmer, then cook for 5 min. more, stirring occasionally. The cream should take on a light brown color from the tea as it steeps. Add the bowl of gelatin and water and stir for about 1 min. until fully incorporated.
Strain out the tea leaves (and vanilla bean, if using) and pour the warm mixture into ramekins, tea cups, champagne bowls (that's what I used), or whatever you have around. Chill for several hours or overnight.
Arrange graham crackers on a plate and microwave for 15 seconds. Briefly dip the chilled panna cotta molds into very hot water (no more than 10 seconds, or the contents will become a melted puddle) and then invert over the graham crackers. (Note: If you're worried about turning the molds out onto a plate, they could be served as is, in little cups for your guests to dig into, and topped with broken graham cracker pieces.)
Drizzle melted dark chocolate or hot fudge on top, and crumble 1/8 of a graham cracker for decoration. Serve immediately.

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