March 5, 2014

Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Curd

I love experimenting with food.  Especially new foods I haven't made or even tasted before.  New things make it fun! (Dustin doesn't always agree with me lol.)

I've heard of panna cotta, but always thought it must be difficult to make.  I had never had it before!  Faith from TheKitchn has a wonderful step-by-step explanation of how to make panna cotta, and I was very excited to try!

Panna cotta was actually pretty simple to make--the trickiest part in my opinion was making sure the half and half didn't get too hot while everything was dissolving.  My recipe is pretty concise compared to Faith's; if this is your first time making it a highly recommend reading through her great explanations.

The blood orange curd was a perfect topping for the panna cotta, the blood orange curd is bright and fresh and counters the smooth creamyness of the panna cotta.  These cups would be the perfect dessert for a special occasion--and the greatest part is all of it can be make ahead!

Panna Cotta
recipe adapted from Faith at the Kitchn

1 cup half and half
1 packet powdered gelatin (2 ½ teaspoons)
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
  1. Grease 4-6 ramekins or glasses--I used a paper towel dipped into a little oil to rub around my glasses. You want a very light layer of oil.
  2. Pour 1 cup of half and half into a medium saucepan.  Sprinkle with gelatin and allow to soften for 5 minutes. 
  3. Warm saucepan over low heat.  Whisk frequently to dissolve the gelatin.  The mixture should never simmer; if it starts to steam take it off the heat.
  4. Check to see if the gelatin has dissolved by rubbing a bit between your fingers; it should feel smooth and not grainy.
  5. Pour the sugar in the sauce pan over medium heat.  Continue to whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Remove saucepan from heat.  Add 2 cups of half and half, vanilla, and salt.  Whisk to combine.
  7. Pour the panna cotta liquid into your ramekins or glasses.  I put mine first into a glass measuring cup with a pour spout to help.
  8. Chill the panna cotta for 1-2 hours.  If you want to unmold the panna cotta a little longer is better.  Make the blood orange curd for topping

Note--if you want to unmold your panna cotta you can add ½ a teaspoon extra gelatin to the mixture to ensure it holds its shape.  Add it when you're adding the rest of the gelatin.

Blood Orange Curd
recipe by Abby at Happy Food Happy Home

the zest of 2 blood oranges
½ cup of sugar
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup blood orange juice
pinch of kosher salt
  1. Zest your oranges.  Add zest to the sugar in a medium bowl and use your fingers to massage it together and release the fragrant oils.
  2. Using a hand mixer cream together butter and sugar mixture. 
  3. Add one egg and thoroughly mix.  Add second egg and thoroughly mix.
  4. Add the juices and the salt.  Mix together until everything is combined and uniform.
  5. Pour mixture into a medium sauce pan.  Cook on low for approximately 10 minutes, whisking constantly.  The curd is finished when it will coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Pour your curd in a container and cool in the refrigerator.  It might form a skin on top--to prevent this press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd.

Once everything has cooled and the panna cotta is set gently spoon the blood orange curd onto the panna cotta.  I added a pretty healthy layer, but this can totally be done to taste.  Then top with a slice of blood orange and eat up.  I also ate one of the panna cottas without blood orange curd, and it was pretty fantastic alone.   

The panna cottas refrigerate pretty well, though the gelatin will get firmer the longer it sits.  I think these are probably best eaten within a day or two of making them. Would you try panna cotta?  It does have a slight gelatin texture, but much creamier than any I've ever had! 

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