Blood Orange Panna Cotta

Blood Orange Panna Cotta

Best Panna Cotta

After years of complaining about restaurants adding flavors to the classic panna cotta,
a northern Italian dessert that is literally “cooked cream”,
this week I finally changed my mind and made a batch of panna cotta with some blood oranges that are in season right now.
The result was a fantastic mix of sweet cream and citrus flavors with a drizzle of acacia honey.
I should of tried it sooner. If you want the "classic" recipe, just omit the orange juice and zest.

Blood Orange Panna Cotta

  • Panna Cotta

  • 1 quart heavy cream

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar for carmelizing

  • 1 vanilla bean

  • 1 package unflavored gelatin

  • 1/4 cup cold water, (1/4 cup)

  • zest of 1 blood orange

  • 1/4 cup blood orange juice, (1/4 cup)

  • -

  • To Plate

  • 4 blood oranges

  • 1/4 cup high quality honey


Put sugar in a heavy bottomed saute pan.
Place near stove top a tray with 12 panna cotta cup molds or other small ramekins
so they are ready to fill immediately after sugar is caramelized.

Heat on medium high watching carefully with a spoon in your hand.
The sugar will turn clear then start to become golden.
I stir a little with the spoon so the sugar caramelizes equally.
From golden to burnt happens very fast (seconds), stay attentive.
When it is dark golden in color, remove from heat and spoon into panna cotta molds.

Sprinkle gelatin in a small bowl filled with 1/4 cup very cold water.

Place heavy cream in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium low heat.
Add blood orange zest and scraped vanilla bean pod and pulp to heavy cream.
(cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out pulp with the back of a pairing knife)

Bring the cream to a near simmer. Whisk in the softened gelatin,
then add the sugar and whisk for about 5 minutes to fully dissolve the sugar.

Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.
Let cool completely stirring occasionally.
It is very important for the texture of the panna cotta to let it cool before pouring into the molds.

When cooled, pour into prepared molds and refrigerate for at least 7 hours before serving.

To Plate

Cut off bottom and top of orange and stand it upright on a cutting board.
Cut away peel and white pith, following the curve of the fruit with your knife.
Cut out blood orange segments from the membranes with a pairing knife
while holding the orange in your hand and place in a small bowl.
Repeat with rest the blood oranges.

Unmold panna cotta and place on a plate.
Arrange some blood orange segments around panna cotta and drizzle with the honey.