A few months ago, a friend of mine was visiting from out of town and we went to Soba Ichi in Oakland. Best soba I’ve had outside of Japan. Their juwari soba was incredible. Juwari soba is made from 100% buckwheat. This is incredibly hard as there is no gluten in buckwheat to hold the dough together. In unskilled hands, the dough can crack and break, which means, no noodles. Because of their mastery with buckwheat, it came to no surprise that they offered a dessert made from it as well. They have a to-die-for sobacha mousse with sobacha jelly.
I’m very familiar with tea flavored desserts; I’ve ordered them and I’ve made them. But this is the first time I’ve had a dessert made with buckwheat tea. It’s categorized as a tea in Japanese culture, but buckwheat actually is a grain-like seed and relates to rhubarb more than it would a tea leaf. For soba, buckwheat is ground up into flour to make the noodles. In this instance of a mousse or panna cotta, you would steep the buckwheat and use the “tea” in the dessert.
I love the nuttiness of the buckwheat tea. It’s a very subtle flavor but it creates a very dynamic profile. I used it in a panna cotta as a cream based dessert can take on a lot of flavor. I also felt that honey would be the perfect way to get sweetness into this as it pairs nicely with teas. Not to mention you can use less honey to sweeten the panna cotta (less calories!). Enjoy!
Sobacha Panna Cotta
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1 cup buckwheat
- Panna Cotta
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cup sobacha
- 1 package gelatin
- 1/2 cup honey
- Sobacha Jelly
- 1 cup sobacha
- 1 package gelatin
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Step 1 Steep dried buckwheat in boiling water and let sit for at least an hour. Sieve the buckwheat from the tea.
- Step 2 In a small pan, add about two tablespoons of sobacha and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit for about 5 minutes to allow gelatin to soften. Heat over low heat until gelatin melts and set aside.
- Step 3 In a large pan, heat cream, remaining sobacha, and honey over medium heat until just about to boil. Add the gelatin sobacha and stir.
- Step 4 Divide mixture equally into eight ramekins or glasses. Refrigerate for at least two hours before next step.
- Step 5 In a small pan, add about two tablespoons of sobacha and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit for about 5 minutes to allow gelatin to soften. Heat over low heat until gelatin melts and set aside.
- Step 6 In a medium pan, boil remaining sobacha and honey over. Add gelatin and stir.
- Step 7 Pour sobacha jelly mixture on top of the chilled cream mix with the backside of a spoon.
- Step 8 Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Step 9 Optional: fry buckwheat seeds to add as garnish.