This masala chai-spiced eggnog panna cotta is topped with rum-soaked raisins, it’s creamy, it’s elegant and so easy to make! With only 5 main ingredients, you’ll delight your holiday guests with this traditionally original holiday dessert!
I love to serve panna cotta topped with blackberry cabernet sauce and strawberry rhubarb in the summer, but for my “roast beast” Christmas dinner party this year, this delightful, masala-spiced eggnog panna cotta was seasonal perfection!
I find a little masala spice (what we call “chai spice” here in the west), adds so much excitement to so many desserts! I substituted masala spice for pumpkin spice in my masala chai pumpkin pie this year, and it disappeared faster than any pie I’ve ever made!
Masala is a “warming” spice with cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Just imagine how gorgeously it complements the nutmeg spice in eggnog! *Chef’s kiss.
To keep things simple, I used store-bought eggnog in this recipe, and I realized it’s best to use a non-organic kind. Not usually my style, but I first experimented with an organic brand with no preservatives or additives, and it split into egg and cream on top, and a very unappetizing “gel” underneath.
So FYI, go for the unpasteurized, standard, grocery store kind. It’s just as delicious and works so well!
Here’s the Process
- First, we’ll “bloom” (dissolve) powdered gelatin in a small bowl of water.
- Then, we’ll add 3 cups of eggnog to a pot on the stove and warm on low.
- Next, we’ll add masala chai spice, add the bloomed gelatin, stir and let it dissolve.
- Finally, we’ll pour the eggnog mixture into cups and chill for at least 4 hours.
eggnog – As mentioned above, I used standard eggnog in this recipe. Not an organic kind. I usually would, but when I tried, it really didn’t come together well. The egg and cream floated to the top and made a yucky skin. If you want to give it a try, maybe you’ll have better luck with your brand (I used Family Farmstead), but if you don’t want to test your luck, just go for a nice, store-bought, standard eggnog for this recipe to get the best result.
masala chai spice – I used Spicewalla Masala Chai Spice for this recipe, but if you can’t find masala spice, you can also use a chai tea. See recipe notes for how to alter the recipe.
gelatin – This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of powdered gelatin, but if you intend to chill the panna cotta in molds and serve without glasses, use 1 teaspoon more of gelatin.
raisins – A mix of black and yellow raisins looks so pretty, but feel free to use just one kind if you like.
dark rum – You can also use whisky, fernet, or even coconut rum. If you prefer not to use any alcohol at all, you can also use water with a little bit of maple syrup to plump the raisins instead.
How to Make This Recipe – Step by Step
To Make Panna Cotta
1. Add 1 tbsp. powdered gelatin to a small bowl with ¼ cup of cool water. Stir once and allow to “bloom” (dissolve) for 5 minutes.
2. Add 3 cups eggnog and 1 tsp. masala chai spice to a pot and simmer on MEDIUM/LOW for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You don’t want the eggnog to boil.
3. Add bloomed gelatin and stir until dissolved – about 2-3 minutes.
4. Pour eggnog mixture over a mesh strainer into glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
To Make Rum-Soaked Raisins
1. Add ½ cup raisins to a saucepan with ½ cup dark rum. Simmer on low for 5 minutes until the raisins look plump. Sprinkle with a pinch of masala spice and stir.
2. Refrigerate raisins for at least 10 minutes. Spoon raisins equally onto panna cotta and serve.
A Few Notes
1. If you would like to make this panna cotta in molds to turn over, instead of serving in glasses, make sure to add 1 teaspoon more of gelatin than the recipe calls for, and lightly coat your molds with a little bit of olive oil before pouring the eggnog mixture. This will help it come loose more easily.
When ready to flip, run each glass under hot water for about 10-20 seconds to melt the outer-most layer and flip onto a plate.
2. If you can’t find masala chai spice, you can also use chai tea instead. Place 3 teabags in the eggnog while heating and remove before adding gelatin. Keep in mind, though, if any tea particles release into the eggnog, they will have to be strained.
3. If you don’t mind the chai spice settling at the bottom of the glasses (not the end of the world) then you don’t have to strain the eggnog at all. But if you really want nothing but the flavor, and don’t want any spice to stay in the panna cotta, use something like a nutbag.
It’s a very fine mesh bag used for making nut milks. It will eliminate any spice so your panna cotta is perfectly smooth.
You can make panna cotta a full 24 hours before serving, but after 1 hour, place cellophane over the tops, otherwise it may form a “skin” on top. You can make the rum-raisins 3 days before serving. Store in a container with a lid.
Chai means “tea” in Hindi, but masala is the actual mix of spices that flavor what we consider “chai tea” in the United States. Masala chai is actually a black tea made with a mix of cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
So much like “pumpkin spice” doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin, the “masala chai” in this recipe contains no tea.
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A Little More Holiday Recipe Inspiration
Chai Spiced Eggnog Panna Cotta
- 1 small bowl
- 1 medium-size pot
- 1 mesh strainer
- 1 mixing spoon
- 6 glasses
- 1 tbsp. powdered gelatin
- ¼ cup water
- 3 cups eggnog – Unpasteurized
- 1 tsp. masala chai spice – I used Spicewalla Masala Chai Spice
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup dark rum
To Make Panna Cotta
- Add 1 tbsp. powdered gelatin to a small bowl with ¼ cup of cool water. Stir once and allow to "bloom" for 5 minutes.
- Add 3 cups eggnog and 1 tsp. masala chai spice to a pot and simmer on MEDIUM/LOW for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You don’t want the eggnog to boil.
- Add bloomed gelatin and stir until dissolved – about 2-3 minutes. Pour eggnog mixture over a mesh strainer into glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
To Make Rum-Soaked Raisins
- Add ½ cup raisins to a saucepan with ½ cup dark rum. Simmer on low for 5 minutes until the raisins look plump. Sprinkle with a pinch of masala spice and stir. Refrigerate raisins for at least 10 minutes. Spoon raisins equally onto panna cotta and serve.