Celebrating Valentine’s Day after almost a year into the pandemic will either leave you giddy at the thought of a quiet romantic dinner at home -or- shaking your head in dismay thinking that even your partner’s blinking is driving you batty. So, I have provided options! 🙂
If you fall into the first category – go all out and make both the romantic panna cotta AND the yummy, candied blood oranges. Now if you fall into the later – maybe give your partner a pass for the day and at least serve up some chocolate-dipped candied blood oranges to bring back that ole’ romantic feeling.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the recipes! Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts to make – super simple, super versatile, and super impressive. We have a few different versions here on the blog (see links below). For this version, I lightened up the panna cotta a bit using more milk than cream resulting in a softly set yet creamy version. You also do not have to worry about unmolding this panna cotta and simply serve the pretty pink panna cotta ramekins as they are. (You could in fact use stemless glass wine glasses instead of ceramic ramekins and you will see the layers for an added touch of love.) Very romantic!
We have quite a few panna cotta recipes on the blog. Here are a few links for you to peruse for more options.
For the candied blood oranges, these really yummy treats are super simple to make, although they are a bit time consuming. (The orange slices take about an hour to candy in the syrup.) Plan to make at least a day in advance to allow the candied orange slices time to fully dry before dipping in the chocolate. The beautiful color of the candied blood orange slices will brighten up the dreariest winter day and are sure to add some love to your Valentine’s Day dinner.
So from our table to yours – wishing everyone a Valentine’s Day filled with love, hugs (both real and virtual), and plenty of chocolate and wine – in whatever order makes your soul happy! We will get through this!!
Sending much love,
A bright and sunny simple Italian dessert that is sure to warm the frostiest of hearts!
For the panna cotta:
- Neutral cooking oil or cooking spray
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For blood orange layer:
- 2 cups freshly squeezed (or store bough if you find it) blood orange juice (can substitute with other citrus – I used a combination of blood and cara cara oranges)
- 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 6 (6-ounce) ramekins
Make the panna cotta:
With the oil or cooking spray, lightly grease the ramekins. Use a paper towel to wipe out any excess oil. This is also a good time to be sure you have cleared a spot in the fridge for all the ramekins.
Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top to allow to bloom. Let it soften for about 5 minutes until the gelatin looks wet. Set the saucepan over low heat and gently warm the milk/cream mixture, whisking frequently, until the gelatin dissolves, about 2 minutes. Do not let the milk boil. Whisk in the sugar and allow to dissolve, 1-2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Distribute the panna cotta equally among the prepared ramekins and place in the refrigerator to chill. Allow panna cotta to set, about 3-4 hours.
Make the citrus layer:
Once the panna cotta is firm, prepare the citrus layer. Pour the orange juice into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top to allow to bloom. Let it soften for about 5 minutes and the gelatin looks wet. Set the saucepan over low heat and gently warm the citrus juice, whisking, to allow the gelatin to dissolve, about 1 minute. Whisk in the sugar and allow to dissolve, about 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool slightly while continuing to whisk.
Remove the panna cotta from the refrigerator. Distribute the citrus juice mixture evenly across the ramekins. Place back in the refrigerator and chill until the citrus layer is completely set, about 2 hours. Ready to serve once the citrus layer has set!
These slices of sunshine combine candied orange with chocolate – a match made in heaven!
- 1 blood orange, organic if possible, skin scrubbed
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into large chunks
- Flaky sea salt, such as Malden
Trim the ends of the blood orange and slice into ¼” slices. In a wide frying pan, whisk the water and sugar together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the blood orange slices in a single layer and keep at a low simmer. Allow to simmer in the syrup until the white pith of the orange becomes translucent, about 40-60 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices. Turn them carefully about halfway through.
In the meantime, place a wire rack over a parchment paper lined baking sheet. When the slices are ready, remove from the syrup, allowing any excess syrup to drip back in the pan. Place on the wire rack and allow to cool, uncovered, until they are dry. This may take up to 24 hours.
Once dry, cut the candied slices in half. Place the chocolate in a heatproof and microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20-30 second intervals until melted. (Alternatively, set the bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted.) Line a small baking sheet with parchment. Carefully dip each candied blood orange half into the melted chocolate, shaking off any excess. Place on the parchment paper and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Allow the chocolate to set. Serve!