Orange Panna Cotta

When I published my year-end review for 2011, a few of my readers encouraged me to post more recipes for dessert because well, it is kinda part of a well-balanced meal. One of them actually told me I should make how-to youtube videos. That’s a bit farfetched, but thanks anyway for the suggestion. 

When I was thinking of my first dessert post for the year I only had one word in mind: easy.

I’ve tried slaving over a few desserts last year, most of them not fit for “publication”. So what I really wanted for 2012 is most definitely a change of pace, in more ways than one.

Nothing screams ‘easy’ like a good serving of panna cotta. It’s really a revelation. Sure, it has a fancy name, but it’s simply milk, cream, sugar + the magic ingredient: gelatin.

I could go on and on and on about how this dessert didn’t stress me at all, how really good this was, but if I’m really going for ‘a change of pace’, then this time I’m not going to be verbose about it. You have to make this panna cotta. It’s really easy and you can (and should) tweak it to your preference. Tapioca pearls perhaps?

Is it healthy? I’m not sure about that (It has, uhm, oranges?). But it is really really really good. I managed to wolf down a few spoonfuls before I had enough. It’s not too sweet, not extremely fruity, but it’s still a dense, filling and refreshing way to cap off a heavy meal (Which I had; *cough*porkbelly*cough).

And strangely enough on the first few days of 2012, I find myself limiting my rice intake (cue collective gasp from Peru to Zimbabwe). Less rice (on most occasions! I’m still a rice with ‘ulam’ purist) means more room to enjoy viands, so I’m enjoying this change of pace indeed.

Orange Panna Cotta (serves 4 – 5; adapted from

  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup all-purpose cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin powder
  • 4 tablespoons hot milk (I just zapped mine in the microwave for a minute and ten seconds)
  • orange wedges to garnish
  1. In a saucepan, combine orange zest with all-purpose cream, milk, and white sugar. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Increase heat slightly and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk gelatin powder in hot milk until dissolved. (Some recipes say to let the gelatin ‘bloom’ in the liquid by leaving it for a few minutes. I didn’t do this but I might as well next time)
  4. Stir in gelatin mixture to cream mixture; blend well.
  5. Pour mixture into 3 ramekins. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
  6. To serve, either invert molds onto serving plates or serve as is. Top with orange wedges. Serve immediately.