For the ultimate in simple, elegant desserts, panna cotta (and its custard cousins) wins hands down. Panna cotta calls for just a few ingredients, and produces the perfect silky-smooth base for all manner of seasonal fruits. In the spring, garnish your panna cotta with strawberries and a sprig of fresh mint. Come summertime, you can serve it with ripe red raspberries or blueberries. And in the fall, a plum sauce is the perfect accompaniment.
Citrus fruits are in season in the winter, so I decided to try my panna cotta with a simple sauce made from blood oranges. I don’t recall ever trying blood oranges before, and I wanted an excuse to do so. As you can see from the pictures, they really are the colour of blood! The flavour is rich and deep, too, almost berry-like rather than citrus.
If you don’t have blood oranges on hand, you can use any other freshly-squeezed fruit juice or mashed berries to make the simple sauce that this recipe calls for.
Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Sauce
For the Panna Cotta:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 envelopes unflavoured gelatin (about 5 teaspoons, if you’re using a bulk gelatin like this one)
- 1/2 cup sugar (you can find organic sugar like this one in many grocery stores)
1. In a medium saucepan, mix the milk and cream; sprinkle gelatin on top and let stand 1 minute. Add sugar and stir everything over medium-low heat until the gelatin and sugar are fully dissolved.
2. Divide liquid between 6 ramekins, dessert bowls, or goblets. If you plan to unmold the panna cottas for serving, then first coat the dish with a little bit of butter. Chill the panna cottas in the refridgerator for three hours, or until set. Serve with blood orange sauce.
For the Sauce:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 3/4 cup blood orange juice (about 3 small oranges)
In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in orange juice and heat everything to boiling over medium-high heat. Boil for 1-2 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and refrigerate until serving time, or serve warm over chilled panna cottas.