Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Burnt Orange Panna Cotta (Page 836)

RECIPE #931

  • Date: Thursday, January 22, 2009 -- 7:30pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Tom M, Chuck, Paul K, Beth, Lauren K, Jeremy, Ayelet, Michael L, Anne L, Daniel L, Kent, Sue, Allan, Ann E, Jim, Vladimir, Kitty, Muriel, Marc, Chris C, Prudence, Kate, Jonathan, Marlies, and John B
  • Recipe Rating: B


My special gentleman and I made 12 of these panna cotta as part of the dessert spread for our party a couple weeks ago. In retrospect, it wasn't a great choice for a party like that. The servings of this panna cotta were relatively large (at least given how rich it was) and many people wanted to try small portions of everything rather than just having one full-sized dessert. Oh well. To make these we started by cooking sugar until it was a golden caramel, then adding orange zest and cooking for another minute. Then we added a mixture of heavy cream, powdered sugar, and salt and cooked it until the hardened caramel dissolved. We then added gelatin which had been softening in some milk, more orange zest, and orange juice. Once the mixture had cooled to room temperature, my special gentleman strained it. He then beat some cream and folded the whipped cream into some sour cream, then folded both into the caramel mixture. We spooned this into oiled ramekins and refrigerated overnight for them to set. We served the panna cotta by inverting them onto small plates and spooning some chopped orange and fresh orange juice on the plate. This panna cotta was pretty good. The orange flavor was nice but it was overpowered a bit by the tang of the sour cream. Certainly there were hints of orange (and the chopped orange on the plate helped bring those out), but the dessert tasted mostly like sour cream and whipped cream. The texture was very smooth, but it wasn't quite firm enough for me. I certainly enjoyed the first few bites of this, but I didn't feel compelled to eat an entire serving. There wasn't enough that interested me about it. That said, it definitely didn't taste bad, and if I hadn't had six other desserts to choose from that evening, I may have appreciated it more!

Here is the recipe.

Whenever I throw a party the only thing I really think about is the food. Luckily my special gentleman also thinks to clean up our apartment. But there are certain party essentials that always seem to escape me. For instance: beverages. We typically have plenty of beer and wine around the house, and tons of hard alcohol (thanks Vero!), so it's not a huge problem that I always neglect to remember beverages. But if someone wants a nonalcoholic beverage they tend to be out-of-luck at our place. We both drink water all the time. We don't have juice around. We almost never have soda. These are details that I should think of before throwing a party. For instance, for this large dessert party we had a few weeks ago, I forgot to buy coffee. We had seven desserts but no coffee. How could I have forgotten that? With respect to the food though, I have a great capacity for attention to detail.

When it comes to planning my wedding, it appears I have the same priorities. The menu has been finalized so I have this feeling that I am done! Never mind that I haven't actually sent out the invitations. Or picked wine. Or been fitted for my dress. Never mind that I haven't arranged for chair rental. Or picked readings for the service. Now that the food decisions have been made, I feel that the planning is complete! Eventually it will probably sink in that the food isn't the ONLY thing, even if to me it is a very important thing. And then I will do a bit more planning. For now, though, I am perfectly content just having a menu I am super-excited about in the hands of a chef that I trust completely. Yay!

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