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Thursday 24th November 2011

Christmas Tea Panna Cotta with Cranberry Gelée

Everyone seems to be in Christmas mode, with the traditional fake snow decorations being sunbaked all around the country. But I don't particularly feel like Christmas at all.

As some of you may remember we've switched our Christmas to July, even being both born in the Southern Hemisphere it's never felt right in December to J and I. Earlier this year we were blessed with the most wonderful White Christmas, going to bed on the 24th of July with snow falling and waking on the 25th with even more perfect dry fluffy snow, the fairytale stuff!
It's a scene I will never forget and I will even go as far to say I believe it was my best and most perfect Christmas ever. I doubt I we will ever be that fortunate again.
My only Northern hemisphere Christmas experience in Essen, Germany in the 90s didn't bring snow.

Although we don't have any plans for 25th of December other than hopefully hitting and relaxing on the beach, I still was delighted to find this NZ Live Kiwi Christmas blend tea in my goodie bag from the NZFBA conference. It really smells amazing when you first open the packet. It's base is Black Assam tea but includes New Zealand's own manuka leaves, chocolate cacao nibs, orange peel, cloves, star anise, cinnamon and pink peppercorns.

I thought it would make a fantastic creamy dessert, panna cotta is so easy and a favourite of ours so it was a easy decision. While I was gifted and used this special tea blend, you could easily recreate your own unique Christmas blend by adding your own personal favourite Christmas cake like spice bits and cacao nibs to a quality fragrant tea. Which would again make great little personalised gifts in themselves, cutely packaged up of course.

I topped the Christmas tea infused panna cottas with a little Cranberry Gelée for colour contrast and an added festive feel and flavour. I set them in the Gu ramekins also from or recycled from the NZFBA goodie bag.
Hmm maybe I do feel Christmassy after all - anyway I hope these make you feel in the mood.

I'm also offering these for SweetNZ, an event created by Alessandra to bring sweet loving NZ bloggers together, hosted by the lovely Mairi at Toast this month.


  • Christmas Tea Panna Cotta with Cranberry Gelée
  • 500 mls of standard/whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of Christmas blend tea loose leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of honey, or caster sugar to taste
  • 2 leaves of gelatin
  • 250mls of cranberry juice (from the packet, I used McCoys)
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar, optional
  • 1 leaf of gelatin
  1. Warm the cream together with the tea and honey.
  2. Meanwhile soak the gelatin leaves in a little cold water until soft, squeeze out the extra water and stir the soft leaves through the warm cream mixture until dissolved.
  3. Take off the heat and leave to infuse for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Strain through a fine sieve to remove the tea leaves and pour evenly into 4x 150ml ramekins or moulds.
  5. Leave to set for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
  7. For the Gelée
  8. In a small saucepan bring the juice to the boil, add the sugar if using and stir to dissolve.
  9. Soak the gelatin leaf in a little cold water until soft, squeeze out the extra water and stir through the hot juice. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
  10. Carefully pour a little of the cold but still runny juice over the tea panna cottas and refrigerate again until set and ready to serve.
  11. Makes 4
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