Friday, January 15, 2016

Blood Orange Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is not a new dessert but it's something I wasn't exposed to until a few years ago.  I just love it!  I often order it at restaurants as it's such a light dessert, a little sweet.  It's so refreshing after a big meal. Last month we were in the Napa Valley and had a late lunch at my favorite restaurant there, Bottega. One of their dessert offerings that day was a blood orange panna cotta. It was heavenly! My mission became to recreate that for home.

My favorite panna cotta recipe is from Ina Garten so I tweaked it, using blood orange juice instead of water, to soften the gelatin. This gave the panna cotta a slight pink color.  Then I made a juice reduction to pour over before serving. I thought it turned out wonderful! My dinner guests this evening had never had panna cotta and enjoyed it.
Winter is citrus fruit time, everywhere I go I see oranges, grapefruits, lemons hanging on the trees.  Blood oranges have a crimson flesh.  They have a different taste from regular oranges, almost a raspberry-like addition to the citrus flavor. I love blood oranges and have used them to make marmalade, cakes, and add them to baked chicken dishes. And now I know to use them for panna cotta!

Panna cotta is a very easy dessert to make.  It also is a make-ahead dessert, leaving more time for dinner preparation and enjoying guests!

Blood Orange Panna Cotta

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed blood orange juice
2 teaspoons (1 packet) unflavored gelatin powder (Knox)
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup sugar

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on the 3 tablespoons of blood orange juice.  Stir and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to dissolve.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the cream, the yogurt, and vanilla extract.  Split the vanilla bean and use the tip of a knife to scrape the seeds into the cream.  Heat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream and the sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Off the heat, add the softened gelatin to the hot cream and stir to dissolve.  Pour the hot cream-gelatin mixture into the cold cream-yogurt mixture and stir to combine. Pour into 8 (6- to 8- ounce) ramekins or custard cups and refrigerate uncovered until cold. When the panna cottas are thoroughly chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Blood Orange Syrup

1 blood orange, zested, pith removed, cut into segments
1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1/3 cup sugar

In a small saucepan, combine the zest, juice and sugar; bring to a simmer. Cook until sugar is dissolved and mixture has a syrupy consistency, about 4 minutes.  Cool and refrigerate in a covered container.

To serve, carefully run a paring knife around edge of each ramekin.  Turn upside down onto a plate (shake if it doesn't immediately fall out).  Place an orange segment on top and drizzle with blood orange syrup.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, this sounds delicious...anything with oranges is tops in my book! I have never made panna cotta with yogurt, can't wait to try this. I haven't seen any blood oranges in the stores, yet...I need to check into this! One of my favorites is add a little vanilla, orange and coconut extracts instead of just vanilla. Thanks for sharing.
    Have a great weekend, Julie.