Pink alert! Lots of pink in this post!
It’s full-bloom Cherry Blossom season in Vancouver, and this year, it’s a little later than usual. Some years I’ve seen it as early as late February but it really all depends on Mother Nature. But that just means I’ve got more time to get these sakura recipes in order.
CAN YOU EAT CHERRY BLOSSOMS?
Have you ever eaten sakura/cherry blossoms? Commonly found in Japan, these pretty pink florals and their leaves are actually edible.
But don’t ingest the leaves in high quantities as it contains a toxin, coumarin, which can be toxic in large doses.
HOW CHERRY BLOSSOMS ARE USED
The cherry blossoms are usually preserved with salt and Japanese ume vinegar.
Traditionally, the cherry blossoms are steeped in hot water as a tea and is served at special occasions such as a wedding in place of green tea.
Culinary cherry blossoms are hard to come by in Canada, but I know you can order them online.
My thoughtful friend Janice graciously gifted me some cherry blossoms from her visit to Japan so that I could experiment with them in the kitchen. Thanks Janice!
A LIGHT & DELICATE DESSERT
For this recipe, I paired the coconut panna cotta with the sakura cherry blossom jelly on top.
The cherry blossoms have a slight salty undertone but is balanced with the sweet coconut layer underneath. If you’ve ever had an Asian salt preserved plum, that’s the flavour you get from the cherry blossom.
For some people, the cherry blossom is merely more for decorating than ingesting, like my son who eagerly ate the jelly and the coconut panna cotta but gave me an icky face when he tasted the cherry blossom. 😛
REMOVING THE SALT FROM CHERRY BLOSSOMS
Make sure to rinse the cherry blossoms under cold running water and give them a good soak for at least 30 minutes. This will remove any excess salt.
Also, the liquid from cherry blossoms do not tint (naturally) pink.
What are you most looking forward to now that Spring is here? For me, seeing the cherry blossoms bloom signifies Spring in the air, freshness, and revival. I hope you get to try making these unique pink desserts that will be sure to wow you guests!
SPRINGTIME RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY
If you’re looking for more Spring sweets inspiration, try these recipes:
- Strawberry Matcha Doughnuts
- Rose Raspberry Lychee Cupcakes
- Rose Strawberry Hibiscus Mille Crepe Cake
Let me know if you try this Sakura Cherry Blossom Panna Cotta Jelly. Tag me @siftandsimmer on Instagram or leave me a comment below so I can see your creations.
Sakura Cherry Blossom Panna Cotta Jelly
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
Coconut Panna Cotta
- 3 Tbsp cold water
- 1 ½ tsp gelatin powdered
- 1 can (400ml) coconut milk divided
- ¼ C granulated sugar
Sakura Cherry Blossom Jelly
- 1 C cold water divided
- ¼ tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 8 cherry blossoms
- water for soaking cherry blossoms
- 1 tsp gelatin
- mint for garnish
Make the panna cotta:
- Have 4 clean jars ready. Set aside.
- In a large measuring cup, measure out 3 T of cold water.
- Sprinkle gelatin over top of the cold water. Set aside and allow to bloom.
- Meanwhile, pour ½ can coconut milk and set aside.
- Pour the remainder of the coconut milk into a small sauce pan. Add in the sugar.
- Heat the coconut milk and sugar over medium heat, just until the liquid is about to boil, about 2 minutes. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.
- Whisk the heated coconut milk into the gelatin, making sure that the gelatin has dissolved.
- Add in the unheated coconut milk and whisk the mixture gently.
- Carefully pour the mixture through a sieve equally into the 4 jars.
- Place the jars onto a small tray and put into the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Make the cherry blossom jelly:
- Pick out 8 cherry blossoms. Place blossoms into a sieve and rinse under cold running water for about 1-2 minutes, to remove excess salt. Add the cherry blossoms to a bowl and soak in clean water for about 30 minutes.
- Gently drain the cherry blossoms and set aside.
- Pour ½ C cold water into a large measuring cup.
- Sprinkle gelatin over top of the water. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, add the remaining ½ C water and sugar. Add the freeze-dried raspberry powder (or red food colouring, if you desire). This is just to make the liquid appear pink. Heat over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.
- Turn off the heat and add in the cherry blossoms.
- Place the saucepan over an ice bath (or very cold water) and gently stir until the mixture cools down, about 3-4 minutes.
- Take out the jars of coconut panna cotta from the fridge.
- Use a pair of chopsticks to place 1 or 2 cherry blossoms on the top of the panna cotta.
- Carefully strain the cooled pink sakura liquid over the panna cotta.
- Place into the refrigerator to set, about 1 hour.
- Garnish with mint leaves. Serve chilled.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
Sakura jelly recipe adapted from Just One Cookbook.