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Grand Marnier Panna Cotta

Thanksgiving is hurtling towards us, the stores are already stocked with Christmas decorations🙄, and I just saw a snowflake. A SNOWFLAKE. In November. Whether you already have your tree up or not (we know who you are!!) the colder weather has us bringing our entertaining indoors, and with that we like to step it up a little.

Summer is great for alfresco dining with rosé in flip-flops, but now we’re switching to heels and full-bodied reds. Naturally the menu has to meet the dress code and have we got a treat in store for you.

This Grand Marnier Panna Cotta can be dressed up or down. You can make it in little ramekins or glasses and serve them with berries or orange segments on top, or you can turn them out onto a plate and go to town with the decorations. They can also be made without the alcohol, just substitute freshly squeezed orange juice (but you know us and our love for boozy desserts, so it was just a fleeting thought). Panna Cotta is a great dessert if you have a lot of cooking to do, it can me made up to a day ahead. It’s also a nice, fresh finish to a heavy meal. It’s really not difficult, you just need to watch the cream as it can easily boil over, which nearly happened to me as I was texting whilst making it. Don’t text and cook!

Ingredients for 6 servings

  • 2-1/2 cups (600ml) heavy cream

  • 2/3 cup (150ml) full fat milk

  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar

  • 1 sachet of gelatin powder

  • finely grated zest & juice of one orange

  • 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Place your ramekins on a baking tray, mine had a 3/4 cup (175ml) capacity, but you won’t be filling them to the very top. Zest and juice the orange, set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, slowly bring the cream and the milk to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat a little so that it maintains a soft boil, but doesn’t boil over. Cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time so as not to burn the bottom of your pan.

Place the orange juice in a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatin powder, don’t touch it, allow it to bloom for 5 minutes whilst the cream and milk are cooking.

When the cream mixture has boiled for five minutes and has reduced a little, take it off the heat and stir in the sugar until it has completely dissolved.

Stir the gelatin and orange juice mixture, it will be thick and gloopy. Loosen it a little with a couple of tablespoons of the hot cream, then pour the gelatin into the pan with the cream. This is where you really want to stir with a whisk (but don’t beat it) to make sure all the gelatin dissolves. If you think there may be globs of gelatin in there, run it through a sieve. Add the Grand Marnier, stir and divide equally amongst the ramekins. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

To serve, loosen around the edge of the ramekin with a knife, turn it upside down on a plate, and give it a good shake to release it. Use fresh fruit, cookies, and fruit coulis to finish the plate but it’s just as delicious on its own!

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