This unique Panna Cotta shows that matcha and cream are an ideal pairing: the rich cream softens the matcha’s bitter edge, bringing out its sweetness. Here, a little sugar and gelatin help set the two into a tender custard, served with bright strawberries and kiwi and topped with poppy seeds for crunch.
Special equipment: eight 4-ounce ramekins
Stir the gelatin and 2 tablespoons cold water together in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the matcha powder and ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan until no large lumps remain. Pour in ¼ cup of the half-and-half and whisk until it forms a smooth, thick paste. Pour in the vanilla and 1 more cup half-and-half and stir until smooth. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream just begins to simmer at the edges and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately whisk the gelatin into the hot mixture until it dissolves. Pour the remaining half-and-half into the saucepan and stir until evenly combined.
Using a ladle or liquid measuring cup, pour the matcha cream into eight 4-ounce ramekins. Refrigerate the ramekins until the cream is firm, about 3 hours.
Meanwhile, place the strawberries in one small bowl and the kiwis in another. Evenly divide the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar between both bowls, toss to coat the fruit, then let stand for 15 minutes.
To serve, briefly dip the bottom of each ramekin in a bowl of hot water for 10 to 15 seconds to loosen the panna cottas. Invert each panna cotta onto a small serving plate, spoon the strawberries and kiwis around the sides and sprinkle each lightly with the poppy seeds before serving.