Mandarin Saffron Panna Cotta

October 6th, 2009 · Recipes

I love my eggs Sunny Side Up, so as my dessert!

I've been told that I am a person who is difficult to find a birthday present for. I detest! I sure no prima donna, and "Oh, you already have everythinggg..." kind of accusation is absolutely unacceptable! And I also think birthday present doesn't always have to be expensive gadgets or toys, what can be more worse than putting on a fake smile to express that you really love it even though you already knew you are going to put it away in the drawer and never see it again. Hence, when the Pom asked me what do I want for my birthday, my answer is simple and straight forward,

"Eat, I just want to eat this whole long weekend."

That's exactly what I've been doing, cooking and eating. I actually haven't been spending much time in the kitchen off late, so this gloomy long weekend is the perfect excuse to stay inside and spend some quality time in the kitchen for some culinary fun. I have this idea of making a panna cotta, something I've never attempted before and still can't get the wobbly-licious panna cotta by Jonah's at Taste of Sydney out of my head. I am determined to give it a go and crack the secret code until I can achieve such violent wobbliness result where my head has to tilt side by side along with the panna cotta. Hence, my first attempt is a Mandarin Panna Cotta.

I love mandarin, and always have a bag full in the fridge while they are still in season. It is such a versatile citrus fruit in my opinion and can easily pair with any other flavour. As I want to give the panna cotta a little bit more flavour than just vanilla, I used a cocktail glass as the mould, with the tip of mandarin gelee, then the rest is filled mandarin and saffron infused vanilla panna cotta.

The mandarin gelee definitely has the consistency that I was hoping for, but the panna cotta is a little bit firmer. By leaving it in the fridge overnight has also taken the water content out and becomes more condense. Despite it lacks of bounciness, it still delivers a nice smooth creamy texture with vanilla seeds distributed evenly. I am actually quite amazed by the combination of saffron with mandarin, gives the panna cotta a nice tangy pervasive saffron flavour.

To plate it up, I have prepared a simple mandarin coulis using St Fiacre's mandarin liquer, an award winning fruit distillery in Central Coast. It has a bittery aroma of mandarin skin with some spicy overtones. I have some crushed roasted mixed nuts lying around and thought will add it for the texture but the Pom doesn't think it works. Maybe, I think I need a few more attempts to rectify and refine. :P

Read further for more pics and recipe.

Mandarin Panna Cotta (serve 4)
To make Mandarin Gelee
Ingredients 150ml mandarin juice
½ tbsp gelatin powder
3 tbsp cold water
3 tbsp caster sugar

Method 1. Put mandarin juice and sugar into a saucepan over medium heat and bring it to boil or until all the sugar dissolved.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin powder into the cold water in a bowl and let it soften over 5 minutes.
3. Add the soften gelatin into the mandarin mixture and stir until all dissolved completely.
4. Pour the mixture over 4 cocktail glasses or ramekins and let it set in the fridge.

To make Mandarin Saffron Panna Cotta Ingredients 1½ cup heavy(thickened) cream
1¼ cup full cream milk
½ cup caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, halved and scraped for seeds
1 pinch of saffron (about 10 strans)
1 whole mandarin zests
1 tbsp gelatin powder
3 tbsp cold water

Method 1. Add heavy cream, milk, sugar, vanilla seeds, saffon, mandarin zests into a saucepan and warm it up over medium-low heat. DO NOT BOIL.
2. Let the mixture infused for 5 - 10 minute, or until all the sugar are dissolved.
3. Pour the mixture into a large bowl over a strainer.
4. Add gelatin powder into the cold water and let it soften over 5 minutes.
5. Add the soften gelatin powder into the mixture and stir until all dissolved then let it cool
6. If the mandarin gelee is set inside the glasses, pour the mixture slowly into the glass almost full to the brim.
7. Let it set in the fridge over 2 hours or longer.