I must confess that I am presently obsessed with blood oranges. The very first time I experienced blood oranges was during our eight-year stay in Milano where I discovered them at our local outdoor market. I was amazed at the vibrant crimson color and bright, sweet flavor. From that very first taste, I fell in love, and throughout the years since, I buy them whenever they show up at the market or stores which is usually late winter. Blood oranges have finally arrived in our local stores, and I am taking full advantage of that fact. This past month, every time I visit my local grocery store, I buy a bag of these vibrant colored oranges to use in recipes, in my raw juices, or to simply enjoy as a snack.
I recently had friends over for pizza night and wanted to create a light dessert to finish off our meal. Panna cotta is a great option when entertaining because it needs to be prepared ahead of time which allows you the time for other preparations. A good panna cotta should be creamy and light, and though it needs to be set, it should have just a little wobble when finished. I used some of my blood oranges to both flavor the creamy pudding, as well as to create a syrup that I used to top of my panna cotta before serving. The oranges I used in this panna cotta were unusually dark in color so my panna cotta ended up a lovely pink color. If your oranges are not as dark as mine, your dessert will be just as flavorful even if the final product is lighter in color.
- 1 Cup Blood Orange Juice
- Zest of 3 Blood Oranges
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Powdered Gelatin
- 3 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
- 7 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Orange Extract
Blood Orange Syrup:
- 3 Cups Fresh Blood Orange Juice
- 9 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Grated Blood Orange Peel
- Place the orange juice in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top.
- Stir to mix, and set aside to soften 2 to 3 minutes.
- Place 8 small glasses on a baking tray.
- Half-fill a large bowl with ice and add enough water to make an ice bath and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the cream, milk, sugar and blood orange zest, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Remove from heat, and whisk in the softened gelatin and the orange extract.
- Set the saucepan in the ice bath, and whisk until the mixture is at room temperature.
- Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup or bowl with a pouring spout.
- Place the bowl in the ice bath and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Pour the mixture into the glasses and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.
- To make the syrup, stir all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- Increase heat to high, and boil until syrup is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
- Refrigerate until cold.
- Before serving, pour some of the blood orange syrup on top of the glasses.