Orange Panna Cotta With Saffron and Star Anise

Foodista Cookbook Entry

Category: Desserts & Sweets | Blog URL:

This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.


1/2 cup orange juice
large pinch of saffron, crumbled
1 3/4 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier


Put 1 tablespoon of water into a small dish and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Set it aside and let it soften.
In a small saucepan, heat the orange juice, saffron, and star anise over low heat and reduce by one half, about 5-10 minutes.
In a separate saucepan, heat the half-and-half and sugar together until the sugar dissolves and the half-and-half is hot (but not boiling), about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Strain the reduced orange juice mixture and add it to the half-and-half mixture.
Stir in the softened gelatin until it is completely dissolved.
Distribute the liquid into four 4-ounce ramekins. When they cool down to room temperature, cover the ramekins with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 6 hours.
About 30 minutes before serving, segment the clementines to remove the outer membranes. Pour the Grand Marnier over them and let them sit at room temperature.
Invert the ramekins onto small plates. To loosen up the panna cotta and get it to slide out of the ramekin, it may help to warm up the ramekin in a bath of hot water for a couple of seconds and/or run a very thin, small spatula or knife around the edge of the panna cotta.
Garnish the panna cotta with the clementine segments and a drizzling of the Grand Marnier.




This dessert is deceiving. The reduced orange juice and saffron add such a beautiful custardy color to this panna cotta that it is hard to believe there are no eggs in it. Creamy and scented with fragrant spices, it looks and tastes like a refined treat that involves a lot of work and skill. The truth is, the preparation takes hardly any time at all, you just have to give the gelatin about 6 hours to set. And if you can make Jell-o, you've got all the skills required.

Always on the lookout for a shortcut, I tried sprinkling the gelatin directly into the hot orange and half-and-half mixture. It didn't work. The pudding I ended up with was not fully set and had tapioca-like lumps in it. So now I take the extra 3 seconds and soften the gelatin in a bit of water first.




Monday, February 22, 2010 - 6:49pm

Related Cooking Videos