Saturday, December 31, 2011

Seductive Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Confit

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Confit

The word “classic” can be applied to lots of things, from automobiles (Maserati) to fashion (Chanel) to beauty (Grace Kelly).  When applied to food dishes, it means “enduring.”  Panna cotta by any account is a classic Italian dish that has transcended its Piedmont roots to be a world-wide dessert staple in more than just Italian restaurants.  So I was thrilled when my intrepid sous chef suggested I prepare for our Italian-themed Christmas Eve dinner a recipe for Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Confit he discovered in the January 2012 issue of Los Angeles Magazine.  Thrilled because panna cotta is a light dish that would perfectly complement the full-bodied courses that would precede it.  Plus it would make us feel we had jump-started our New Year’s resolution to eat lighter and healthier.

Minimal ingredients required

The recipe is from Rory Herrmann, the executive chef at Bouchon in Beverly Hills.  The recipe combines great seasonal ingredients that form a sort of blood orange creamsicle.  It is pure bliss.  Light, creamy, and sexy with a blush of color reminiscent of cheeks pink from embarrassment.  Not only is this eye candy, it is mouth candy!  To quote George Gershwin, “’S wonderful!  ‘S marvelous!,” and very simple and practical to make.
Blushfully Perfect Panna Cotta

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Confit by Rory Herrmann, Executive Chef Bouchon Beverly Hills – 2012 issue of Los Angeles Magazine:

Serves 8

Panna Cotta:

2 tablespoons cold water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ½ cup ramekins sprayed with nonstick spray. 

Measure water into a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin.  Let stand 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. 

Bring cream, sugar, and lemon zest to a gentle simmer in a heavy medium saucepan.  Remove saucepan from heat.  Add softened gelatin and stir until gelatin dissolves.  Cool slightly.

Stir in buttermilk and vanilla extract to cooled mixture.  Divide mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins.  Chill until set (approximately 6 hours).

This mixture can be made 3 days ahead and covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated.

Gelatin is standing with water to soften

Bring mixture just to a boil

Let mixture cool slightly before adding buttermilk
Add buttermilk and vanilla to cooled mixture

Pour mixture into ramekins 

Blood Orange Confit:

6 blood oranges
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar

Using a serrated knife, cut away peel and pith from the blood oranges.  Carefully cut alongside membranes to release segments.  Place segments in a medium bowl.  The knife work should be done over a bowl to capture any juice that might be emitted during this process.  Remember to add this juice to the small saucepan mentioned below.

Squeeze the juice from the blood orange carcasses (including membranes) into a heavy small saucepan.  Add the water and sugar to the blood orange juice.  Bring the blood orange juice mixture to a boil over medium high heat.  Pour the hot blood orange juice mixture over the blood orange segments.  Let cool to room temperature.

ServingUnmold the panna cotta (if desired, or leave in its ramekin) and serve the confit over it.

Peel and pith blood oranges

As you segment oranges squeeze juice from membranes into separate bowl
Look at the beautiful color of the oranges

The perfect shade of blush - wouldn't this be a great lipstick shade

Pour hot mixture over segmented oranges

Cool orange mixture and use for garnish of Panna Cotta
Gorgeous, light and delicious!


  1. This panna cotta is so beautiful - I adore the deep orange hue of blood oranges. Happy New Year!

  2. Just stunning with the blood orange topping! Totally yummy, too~

  3. I don't know why I think that blood oranges won't be as sweet as regular ones. This looks delicious!

  4. It looks great with al thes colours in it. YUMMY.


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