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Blood Orange Panna Cotta

Yield: 8 servings

  • 8 blood oranges
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 lemon (smallish)
  • 2 Tbs. sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin powder (most likely not quite a packet!)
  • 1 ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk, chilled
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Neutral vegetable oil for the cups (if unmolding)

Prepare the oranges:

Pare the zest from one orange with a vegetable peeler. Blanch the zest strips in boiling water for two minutes. Drain, cool and cut into fine julienne. Set aside. Peel the zested orange and one more, paring away the pith, and cut supremes (sections). Juice the remaining six oranges. Juice the lemon as well, adding it’s juice to the bowl.

Make the sauce:

Combine zest, supremes, ¼ cup of the juice, ½ cup brown sugar, and ¼ cup water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened and sauce-like, 10-15 minutees. Remove from the heat, add the Vermouth, and set aside.

Make the panna cotta:

Put ¼ cup water in a small bowl, and sprinkle the gelatin on top.  Place the remaining orange juice (you should have around ¾-1 cup) in a small pan, and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add ½ cup sugar, stirring to dissolve it. Add the cream, and bring to a simmer. Add the gelatin mixture, stirring it in off the heat until dissolved completely. Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Let cool, stirring occasionally.

Lightly oil 8 panna cotta molds, custard cups, or, if you don’t want to unmold the dessert, use un-oiled wine or fancy dessert glasses. Divide the cooled panna cotta mix between the prepared molds, and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or overnight.

To unmold, run a knife around the edge, then dip bottom of each mold in hot water for a second or two. Turn onto a plate. Garnish with the sauce.