The Daring Bakers’ February, 2011 Challenge: Panna Cotta & Florentine Cookies

 My take on the challenge: a French Earl Grey tea infused panna cotta served with oat florentine cookies and pretty viola flower petals from the garden

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

When I saw this month’s DB’s challenge I was thrilled that it was the simple but versatile Panna Cotta: one of my absolute favourite desserts of all time. Immediately, a rich tea infused cream delight comes to mind but which brew, which blend? I was initially inspired by a drink I had called ‘CHAM’ in Malaysia: in hokkien this translates to ‘MIX’ so in kopitiam lingo, this is represented by a Coffee and Black Tea (mixed) concoction sweetened with creamy condensed milk much like Teh Tarik but with added coffee! And then I eyed a packet of black sesame seeds on my table and had thoughts to roast and grind them to flavour the panna cotta but time lapsed and I was spoilt with so many flavour choices to the point of indecision. Luckily, a rummage through my tea cupboard produced an unopened box of French Earl Grey Tea which I had purchased at Salamanca market, Tasmania in July 2009! That is what happens when you’re a tea hoarder like me! Thankfully the tea is still within its best before date. The scent of this French Earl Grey Tea is nothing short of intoxicating: hibiscus flowers, sunflowers and rose petals lend delicate, fruity and floral notes to a classic bergamot scented tea. It reminded me of strawberries and peaches and I just could not resist the aroma.

 The combination of scented tea plus wobbleliscious cream worked like magic!

 Mmmmm…dig in!!!

The second component of the challenge was to make oat florentine cookies and whilst they were very delicious, I would be happy just eating them with a nice hot cup of tea as the florentines are rather sweet! I’ve actually reduced a significant amount of sugar from the challenge recipe and still found them a little too sweet but I certainly can’t fault the texture; you could easily get carried away indulging on these addictive morsels that have crispy and caramelised edges and a chewy, nutty centre.

Here’s the original challenge recipe for the vanilla panna cotta with a chocolate alternative and the florentines by host MissMallory from A Sofa In The Kitchen  

For my French Earl Grey infused panna cotta, you can use this recipe from last year’s post but I’ve included the tea infusion step  here.  

French Earl Grey Tea Panna Cotta
(basic vanilla panna cotta from COOK by Australian Women’s Weekly modified to include the tea infusion)


2 teaspoons gelatine
55 g caster sugar
180 ml milk
300ml thickened cream
2 tablespoons loose-leaf french earl grey tea


  1. Grease four 2/3 cup (160ml) metal moulds. (you can also use plastic cups, ramekins or any glassware of your choice)
  2. Heat the milk in a pan; when it’s almost coming to the boil, turn off the heat and add the tea leaves. Let it steep and infuse in the milk for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the cream into the milk and tea leaves; sprinkle gelatine and sugar; then stir over low heat without boiling until gelatine and sugar dissolve.
  4. Strain the mixture into a jug
  5. Cool to room temperature
  6. Pour into moulds, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

a dark purple viola in the centre: yes I ate the flowers too – they’re edible

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7 comments to The Daring Bakers’ February, 2011 Challenge: Panna Cotta & Florentine Cookies

  • Vyanne

    Looks wonderful! Anything wobbly and creamy can’t be a bad thing. 🙂

  • Kim

    Your panna cotta looks great! I’ve never tried a tea flavored dessert, but this seems like it would be a good time to try it. Nice job on the challenge!

  • Mei Sze

    Thanks Kim, I did enjoy the challenge even though I’ve made panna cotta a couple of times but the tea infusion was a new thing for me and the flavour profile was awesome….

  • Mei Sze

    Vyanne – Thanks for the earl grey tea suggestion – luckily I ransacked my cupboard..but the french earl grey tea does smell quite different from the classic bergamot blend..its more flowery and fruity

  • Wow that looks amazing, might surprise the girls in the house with that on the weekend!

  • Mei Sze

    Hi Rory. Thank you for your comment. The panna cotta was lovely to eat… 🙂

  • I love earl grey in creamy desserts! It’s such a fragrant and gorgeous flavour so I’m loving your version. Awesome work as usual lah ;D