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Lemon Panna Cotta plated

As the grand finale for my Wish It Were Spring theme lunch, I went with Lemon Panna Cotta for dessert. That was a delicious decision. The smooth custard topped with the lemony curd and candied lemon peel created bursts of spring-time flavor with every bite.

It isn’t hard to make, but does take some time and planning ahead. I prepared everything the day before the gathering, because the Panna Cotta needs to sit for at least eight hours before serving.

lemon panna cotta ingred
The cast of characters
Begin by sprinkling gelatin over 1/4 cup cold milk.
Add sugar to the cream
Add in vanilla, stir well and cook for about four minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Sorry, I forgot to take photos of the next step, but you remove from heat, stir in gelatin then add in the milk. Pour into cups or forms and refrigerate, tightly covered with plastic wrap, at least eight hours or overnight.
Lemon Pavlova flowerI used a silicone pan shaped like a daisy for my mold. Although it is non-stick, I gave it a shot of non-stick spray to make sure I could get it out of the mold when I was ready to serve. Isn’t it pretty?
Next, make the lemon curd. Here are the ingredients.

Next, make the lemon curd. Here are the ingredients.

Zest half a lemon with a microplane. I'm lazy and did mine right in the pan.

Zest half a lemon with a microplane. I’m lazy and did mine right in the pan.

Then squeeze the lemons until you get a quarter cup of juice.

Then squeeze the lemons until you get a quarter cup of juice.

Put everything in a heavy saucepan and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens.

Put everything in a heavy saucepan and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens.
Remove from heat and spoon into a bowl or jar, ready to top the Panna Cotta. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Remove from heat and spoon into a bowl or jar, ready to top the Panna Cotta. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

To make the candied lemon peel, I used the two lemons from the lemon curd and removed all pump and pith (the white part).

To make the candied lemon peel, I used the two lemons from the lemon curd and removed all pulp and pith (the white part).

Cut it into thin ribbons.

Cut it into thin ribbons.

Then boil with a cup of cold water and drain. Repeat this step.

Then boil with a cup of cold water and drain. Repeat this step.

Add 1/2 cup of sugar and another cup of cold water to the peel and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugar.

Add 1/2 cup of sugar and another cup of cold water to the peel and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugar.

Continue simmering until lemon peel is soft and translucent - about 15 to 20 minutes. It is better to overcook than undercook because you want to cook out any bitterness left in the peel.

Continue simmering until lemon peel is soft and translucent – about 15 to 20 minutes. It is better to overcook than undercook because you want to cook out any bitterness left in the peel.

Dry on a paper towel.

Dry on a paper towel.

Then dip into sugar, thoroughly coating.

Then dip into sugar, thoroughly coating.

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?

You'll have a bunch of sugary squiggles of lemony goodness when you're done. Place in a Ziploc bag or airtight container until you are ready to serve.

You’ll have a bunch of sugary squiggles of lemony goodness when you’re done. Place in a Ziploc bag or airtight container until you are ready to serve.

Vanilla Panna Cotta

A silky custard, made without egg…

1 3/4oz envelope unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold milk, divided

1 ¾ cups heavy cream

¼ cup granulated sugar

1½ tsp. vanilla extract

Sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup milk in a small bowl. Stir until moistened. Let stand five minutes (it will be lumpy).

Cook heavy cream, granulated sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about four minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until completely dissolved. Add in  remaining ¾ cup milk. Stir in then pour mixture into six 4-ounce dessert glasses or wineglasses. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least eight hours. If you have some forms that are easy to get treats out of, you can pour panna cotta into them. I would recommend silicone or something that is easy to work with.

Lemon Curd

2 Lemons

3 egg yolks

6 tbsp. sugar

1/4 cup butter

Roll lemons around on the counter to get the juice flowing. Slice in half and zest one half using a microplane.

Squeeze lemons until you have 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice.

Cook egg yolks, lemon juice, eggs, sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a   wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick. Spoon into a bowl or jar, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Candied Lemon Peel

2 Lemons

1/2 cup sugar plus 1 tbsp.

water

You need the peels off approximately two lemons. I used the same lemons from my lemon curd, so for this entire recipe, you would need two lemons. If you don’t want to use the ones you’ve squeezed into oblivion to render the juice, you can get two fresh lemons.

Take a knife and remove the pulp from the peel then carefully cut away all the white pith. This is the bitter part of the lemon and you want it all gone.

Slice the peel into thin ribbons and add to a saucepan with one cup of cold water. Bring to a boil, drain, and repeat.

After you have drained the lemon peel for the second time, add another cup of cold water and 1/2 cup sugar to the peels in the saucepan and bring to boil. Continue simmering until the peels are translucent and soft. (I let mine go about twenty minutes. It is better to overcook than undercook.)

Remove from heat and drain then let dry on a paper towel. When dry, dip each lemon ribbon in a small dish with sugar, coating thoroughly. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use. These are so, so yummy!

***

To serve the Lemon Panna Cotta, simply add a dollop of curd with a few pieces of Candied Lemon Peel to the Panna Cotta. If you made it in a big mold like I did, cut the Panna Cotta into individual servings before adding the lemon.

She Who Loves the Spring Flavor of Lemon

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Luscious Orange Panna Cotta

I think I’m going to have to fess up to a case of the winter blahs. Even though we’ve had a few sunny days this week, it has been bitterly cold.

So here it is:

I’m tired of the gray skies. Tired of the cold. Tired of the wind. Tired of dead brown grass. Even tired of the pumpkin/cinnamon/spicy flavors I associate with fall and winter.

Then a blip of sunshine fell into my lap in the form of a luscious, citrusy beautifully summer recipe. So I had to make it as fast as I could and, boy, was that a good decision. Even Captain Cavedweller liked it, which is saying a lot.

This recipe for Luscious Orange Panna Cotta is easy to make and so flavorful and smooth and wonderful and fragrant. It is like breathing in a bit of summer.

If you’ve got a case of the winter blahs, I highly encourage you to make haste and make it right away! You’ll be so glad you did. Just remember, you need to let this rest in the fridge for about 8 hours, so plan accordingly!

First we’ll make the Buttery Orange Curd. Then we’ll whip together the Panna Cotta.

Ingredients for the Curd.

Start off by zesting an orange. This part was really fun because as soon as the zester dug into the orange flesh, the sweet lovely smell of citrus nearly made me melt.

You'll mix sugar and cornstarch then whisk in orange juice and an egg before cooking over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and whip in butter, salt and orange zest.

The cooked Curd is a wonderful sunshiny color and the aroma is magnificent.

Buttery Orange Curd

2/3 cup sugar

2 ½ tbsp. cornstarch

1 1/3 cups orange juice

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3 tbsp. butter

2 tsp. orange zest

Pinch of salt

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan. Gradually whisk in orange juice. Whisk in egg. Set on medium burner and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook three to four minutes or until mixture starts to thicken.

Remove from heat then whisk in butter, zest and salt. Place heavy-duty plastic wrap directly on the curd, to prevent a film from forming, and chill eight hours. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to three days.

Ingrdients for Panna Cotta

Stir gelatin into milk and let rest while you cook the cream mixture.

Mix togehter cream, sugar and orange rind, cook over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and gelatin mixture and remaining milk.

Remove the rind. I promise I used a spoon to fish it out!

Luscious Orange Panna Cotta

A silky custard, made without egg…

1 3/4oz envelope unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold milk, divided

3 navel oranges, divided

1 ¾ cups heavy cream

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ cup sparkling sugar

Sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup milk in a small bowl. Stir until moistened. Let stand five minutes (it will be lumpy).

Removed three 2×1 inch strips of rind from an orange with a peeler.  Make sure you have properly washed your orange before peeling off rind.

Cook heavy cream, granulated sugar and orange rind strips in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about four minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until completely dissolved. Add in vanilla and remaining ¾ cup milk. Stir in then discard orange strips.

Pour mixture into six 4-ounce dessert glasses or wineglasses. Cover with plastic wrap and chill eight hours.

 

Section an orange and coat individual segments in sparkling sugar.

Peel and section remaining oranges. Make sure you have removed all the peel and bitter white pith. Roll orange sections in sparkling sugar.

Top Panna Cotta with Buttery Orange Curd and sugared oranges. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream. May be stored in fridge for up to three days.

Luscious Orange Panna Cotta - I promise it is worth every bit of effort you put into it (and it is really pretty easy to make!).

Enjoy and Happy Entertaining!

She who wishes she lived next to an orange grove

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