Every year I find myself anxiously awaiting the arrival of blood oranges at my local market. Like most citrus fruit, they hail from areas with very warm climates so all we can do here in Toronto is wait around for their arrival.
Besides the gorgeous red colour, blood oranges differ slightly from the regular orange in flavour. They are slightly more bitter and I find them a little bit less acidic than a regular orange. Although they have very subtle differences in flavour, I appreciate the blood orange over the regular orange mainly for their beautiful colour. I get much more excited if a dessert is made from a blood orange over a regular orange. There is just something exotic about them.
Orange Panna Cotta or Blood Orange Panna Cotta? See? There is something intriguing here!
This blood orange panna cotta dessert is light, creamy and refreshing. It is a great recipe at any time of year, as long as the blood oranges are available to you. If they are not available, an alternative is to find pure, 100 per cent blood orange juice and use the zest of regular oranges. If you can’t find pure, 100 per cent blood orange juice, then you can always substitute it for pure, 100 percent orange juice, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s just not as sexy.
- 1 cup (250 mL) blood orange juice
- 1½ tbsp (22mL) powdered gelatin
- 3½ cups (825 mL) 35% whipping/heavy cream
- 1½ cups (370 mL) whole milk
- ½ cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
- Zest of 3 blood oranges
Blood Orange Syrup
- 3 cups (750 mL) fresh blood orange juice
- ½ cup (125 mL) +1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
- 1½ tbsp (22 mL) grated blood orange zest
- Place the blood orange juice in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin powder on top. Stir, then set aside and let stand to fully dissolve, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Prepare your 10 mini dessert glasses on a baking tray.
- Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set aside.
- In a small pot, combine cream, milk, sugar and blood orange zest, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat. Whisk in the gelatin juice mixture and orange extract.
- Set the pot in the ice bath and whisk until the mixture reaches room temperature. Strain the mixture from the pot into a large measuring cup with a pouring spout, and place the cup in the ice bath to cool further. Pour the mixture into the glasses and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- To make the blood orange syrup, stir all the syrup ingredients into a pot over high heat, and boil until syrup is reduced by half, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate the syrup until cold.
- Before serving, pour some of the blood orange syrup on top of the panna cotta to add a beautiful layer of colour.