Earl Grey and Cara Cara Orange Panna Cotta

Let me start by saying that I am very critical of my own work; especially when it comes to meals I've prepared. That being said, I'm going to do an awful lot of boasting right about now. During our surprise three day weekend I wanted to use up some extra heavy cream and milk I had and there's really only one thing you can make: panna cotta. Now, I'd always wanted to try it but every time I went to the store I'd forget to pick up unflavored gelatin. Well, the stars aligned and I had all the ingredients necessary plus an extra special one to boot. 

If you haven't heard of Cara Cara oranges then you have been seriously deprived. I do not like oranges in the whole form. Eating orange segments is a textural disaster for me. However, this orange so nice they named it twice, barely tastes like an orange. Obviously it tastes like an orange to some extent but it also has a prominent raspberry flavor. Yep, raspberry. I don't know how they did it but if all oranges tasted like this I'd gladly eat them by the bushel.  I knew I was going to make panna cotta and figured this would be a nice, refreshing flavor. At the last minute I decided to soak some Earl Grey tea bags in the cream and WHOA. The final outcome was so good it had my sister, who swears by all things chocolate and only chocolate, go back for a third scoop. This dish is so good I'm afraid to eat the second batch because then I'll be depressed it's all gone. But I'm going to anyway.

I will note that I initially intended on serving these in the glasses I chilled them in. BUUUUUUT it turns out the zest settled nicely on the bottom so I decided to slide the panna cotta from the mold to showcase the pattern. Given my vessel of choice, it was not the easiest removal. Therefore, I would suggest chilling the mixture in a container that will allow the panna cotta to easily slide out if you so choose. 

It's the kind of dessert that comes off a million times more impressive than it actually is. It works with most flavor pairings, can be made vegan (yes, in addition to dairy free milk there are vegan gelatin replacements), and it only needs five minutes of your attention. It's like custard and Jello had an incredibly well behaved child that excels at everything without even trying. It even has one of those really trendy, unique names. Man, panna cotta just has it all. Go ahead and give it a try! Until the next dish, ciao!

You will need:

1 cup of milk ( I used 1 percent)

1 .25 oz packet of unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup sugar

2 Earl Grey tea bags

1 tbsp Cara Cara orange juice

2 tsp Cara Cara orange zest

In a small bowl mix the gelatin and the milk. This is called blooming the gelatin. I say it just looks wrinkly, like so,

Make sure you start with a clean container for your panna cotta. Spray the container with cooking spray and then wipe it down until only a little residue remains.

 In a small saucepan over low heat, mix the heavy cream and sugar. Let mixture heat but DO NOT BOIL. I REPEAT, DO NOT BOIL. It may take 3-4 minutes for the sugar to dissolve.

Once the sugar dissolves add the milk and gelatin mixture. Once the gelatin is dissolved/incorporated let the tea bags soak in the cream mixture and add the orange flavorings as the mixture continues to heat another 2-3 minutes. 

Pour this mixture into the prepared container and chill at least an hour. If you plan on removing the panna cotta from the container you will need at least 4 hours of chill time. 

Garnish with sauce, fruit, and other toppings per your liking.