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Orange & Vanilla Panna Cotta

Ready to elevate your panna cotta game? This show-stopping Orange & Vanilla Panna Cotta takes more engineering skills than culinary skills. If you can fit a shoe box with carefully constructed slots into a #quaranteating full fridge, you get a star! There may have been some light swearing involved, but look at these beauties!

We first saw this on @LorrainePascale ’s cooking show across the pond (the Atlantic pond, that is) - the lovely lady wears many hats. She’s a former model, a celebrity chef on at least two continents, a cookbook author and an emotional wellness advocate. Impressive, right? That’s why we have a lot of love for her, especially during these crazy times. Her baking philosophy is simple - follow the recipe. We can’t argue with that! Her own cooking show doesn’t seem to be on tv anymore in the US (#bringitback), but I still keep her cookbooks close at hand for those moments when I need inspiration.

Our recipe, which is an orange flavored adaption of Lorraine’s, is a lighter version of the traditional dessert and uses cream and greek yogurt. It has a slight tang and is so refreshing on a summer’s day. You could also go ahead and use your own panna cotta recipe and follow our instructions to get that striking tilted effect. We love this dessert because it’s light, easy to make ahead and oh so elegant!

Ingredients - Serves 6

For the panna cotta layer

  • 3 gelatin sheets or 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin

  • 3-1/2 fl. oz. (100ml) heavy cream

  • 3-1/2 fl. oz. (100ml) milk

  • 3/4 cup (100g) sugar

  • 10-1/2 oz. (300g) Greek yoghurt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 1 vanilla bean (seeds only)

  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated

For the gelatin layer

  • 1 pack orange gelatin dessert that yields at least 2 cups of pudding

  • juice of 1 orange (use the same orange you zested)

  • boiling water - amount varies according to package instructions

To make the panna cotta with gelatin sheets, put the sheets in a bowl of cold water and leave to soak for five minutes. If you’re using powder, put 2 tablespoons (30ml) of cold water in a small bowl, sprinkle over the gelatin powder, give it a quick stir, and let it ‘bloom’ for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla paste into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat gently. Keep stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.

Put the yoghurt in a large bowl, stir to loosen it up, and set aside.

By now the gelatin should be ready. If using sheets, lift them out of the water and squeeze out the excess water. Drop the gelatin sheets into the cream mixture and stir with a whisk until dissolved. If using powdered gelatin, add the bloomed mixture to the warm cream, and stir with a whisk until completely dissolved. Add the orange zest. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes.

Prepare your glasses. You will need six pretty glasses for serving. As the layers are set at an angle, the glasses will need to be propped up on one side. Depending on the shape or type of glass, you may find egg cartons, shoe boxes lined with a kitchen towel or muffin tins useful to help prop the glasses. Whatever you use, set them on a tray that will easily fit in the fridge.

Once the creamy mixture has cooled down, pour it over the yoghurt and then gently whisk everything together.

Carefully pour the mixture into the propped-up glasses, dividing it evenly. I highly suggest doing this as close to the fridge as possible so that you don’t have to transport the tray across the kitchen. Place the tray in the fridge and leave to set for at least 2 hours, until firm.

For the gelatin layer, place the orange gelatin powder in a measuring jug. Add boiling water (the amount varies according to package instructions) and stir until the gelatin granules have dissolved. When it’s time to add the cold water, you can substitute some of the cold water with freshly squeezed orange juice (from that orange you zested earlier) or use all cold water. Leave the mixture to cool on the counter (not the fridge, it will set!) to room temperature - this is important! If it’s too hot when you pour it on the panna cotta, it will melt!

Remove the set panna cottas from the fridge and stand the glasses upright on the tray. Pour the cool gelatin over each one, dividing it evenly. Return the glasses back to the fridge for at least two hours, or until the gelatin is firm.

When you are ready to serve, top each panna cotta with orange zest, a dollop of whipped cream or a mint leaf. This can be made a day ahead for easy entertaining!

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