I’ve become a lover of citrus later in life. I never quite understood my mother’s fascination with citrus and why she would add it to every savoury dish and choose a citrus dessert over a chocolate one. I’m now beginning to understand her love of citrus and the way it can lift a dish and I now regularly add a touch or lemon or lime to almost everything.
Recently I decided I wanted to make a chai panna cotta and I found myself thinking that the spiced creaminess of the panna cotta would be offset beautifully by the fresh zing of a blood orange jelly. It seemed a perfect combination to me, both in flavour and for the look of the dessert.
I do have to admit that I used to be scared of trying dishes that required gelatine, worried that I would either overestimate or underestimate the amount of gelatine required. But since a successful rendition of Rachel Lane’s Persian Delight Jelly at Easter, my trepidation has eased.
Mum was over from Perth last week and so we had her over for dinner and a catch up. Knowing how she loves light desserts, it was the perfect opportunity to try out the chai panna cotta with blood orange jelly I had been concocting. I served up a fragrant fish and fennel pie to start and then served up these little jeweled beauties.
They were certainly impressive when winding their way to the table, and after first bite we all agreed that there was a great balance between the panna cotta and the jelly. A wonderful light and fragrant end to the meal!
CHAI PANNA COTTA WITH BLOOD ORANGE JELLY
200ml blood orange juice
1 1/2 tbsp powdered gelatine
8 cardamom pods, bruised
1 tbsp cinnamon bark
2 vanilla tea bags
1 chai tea bag
1/2 cup boiling water
1 litre buttermilk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1 tbsp blood orange zest
In a small glass/mug place 1/3 cup boiling water and add cardamom, cinnamon bark, cloves and teabags and set aside to steep for 30 minutes.
Heat 100ml blood orange juice and 20g sugar in a saucepan until sugar has dissolved. Stir in 1/4 tablespoon gelatine powder and stir until completely dissolved. Divide the mixture between 6 dessert glasses and pop in the fridge to set.
Strain the teabag mixture into a bowl retaining just the liquid. In a saucepan, place liquid from tea mixture, buttermilk, sugar, ground cinnamon and vanilla. Cook over a low heat until sugar has dissolved and buttermilk is warmed. Then remove from heat.
In a small bowl place remaining boiling water and add 1 tbsp gelatine. Whisk until dissolved then pour into buttermilk mixture, and whisk until combined.
Cool down the mixture to room temperature. Remove glasses with blood orange jelly from fridge (jelly should now be slightly firm to the touch) and divide the panna cotta mixture between the glasses. Place in the fridge for two hours until panna cotta is firm to the touch.
Heat the remaining 100ml blood orange juice and 20g sugar in a saucepan until sugar has dissolved. Stir in 1/4 tablespoon gelatine powder and stir until completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature then divide the mixture between 6 dessert glasses and pop in the fridge for another 4 hours to set completely.
Prior to serving divide the pistachios and blood orange jelly rind between the six glasses and serve.
I have not gotten to the point of citrus over chocolate BUT if they were competing in this dish competition I would have to choose the Cotta. This look amazing! I have never had but I have never even seen a version that looks as beautiful and as exquisite as this. Impressive photography my friend!!
Bel | Ooh Look says
You are spot on about zingy citrus pairing beautifully with creaminess. Some of my favorite desserts are just like that. Your panna cotta looks stunning, and delicious!
I just love a panna cotta that uses buttermilk and with these added spices it would heighten the flavour even more. So beautiful!
Wow, easy and elegant! Not to mention gorgeous. Really nice recipe. Very good stuff – thank you.
Josh Bennett says
Finally someone has presented a dessert that is not over sweetened, smothered in crappy sauce and almost entirely chocolate. Good job.
This is a unique beautiful panna cotta! First of all I've never seen panna cotta made with buttermilk and I love this idea! I also love the chai flavoring and then the blood orange – WOW! Absolutely gorgeous and delightful treat!
Everyday Maven says
I am a huge Chai fan and that flavor combination sounds awesome. Plus that is one beautiful dessert. I love that it can be made ahead of time and looks so impressive!
Pannacotta is totally one of my most favourite dessert on par with creme brulee. Thank god its generally gluten free! I have never tried with blood oranges but can nearly imagine its taste on my palate thanks to your stunning pics!
I'm a huge fan of panna cotta and you've inspired me to make some this week!
Heather Mulholland says
mmm I've never made a pannacotta before. Now that I think about it I don't think I've made anything with gelatin in it! But I love the idea of the chai spice with the creamy texture and then tang of blood orange. Can I come over? 😉
I love citrus too, it has come with age. Now I tend to squeeze it over everything. Your panna cotta looks really beautiful.
I've eaten a lot of panna cotta in my day and I don't think I've ever seen a variation of this dessert look so pretty. The color of the blood orange jelly against the cream colored panna cotta is gorgeous.
Thanks for the lovely words Teri! Pannacotta cotta is wonderful – next time you see it on a menu, make sure you try it!
I'm glad you agree Bel 🙂 I also think it wouldn't have looked as impressive with just the chai panna cotta.
Buttermilk makes such a difference in this. I hadn't tried one with buttermilk before but read a few panna cotta recipes that had it when I was researching this and knew I had to try it.
It definitely is easier than it looks. I love a dessert like that. The best bit is you can make the whole thing in advance!
Thanks Josh! I did used to love chocolate covered saucy desserts but as I get older, I think my palette has changed significantly. I almost always choose not chocolate desserts these days.
Thank you so much for the lovely words! 🙂
The fact it is make ahead is so good for dinner parties!
I heart creme brûlée too!!
That's great! Let me know how yours goes. 🙂
Absolutely! Get yourself to Sydney and I'll make it for you 🙂 I had never made anything with gelatine in it until recently, now I can't get enough of these sorts of desserts.
What a great flavour combination! I love blood orange, the colour of it is just fantastic. Beautiful photos too 🙂
I'm really excited about making this, but I'm wondering if you have any substitute ideas for blood orange? I'm not sure I'll be able to find any.
Hi Jane, you could make it with normal oranges, or even mandarins for a lighter flavour?