gjelina's panna cotta with winter citrus
This might be my favorite recipe discovery of the year thus far, and if I had to guess, it's going to make it all the way to the finish line.
Winter desserts are always tricky--produce is slim pickings, and it's too cold for for icy things, but all the obvious choices can start to feel too sticky or too cloying especially after a hearty meal.
And so when I came across this recipe combining two of my favorite baking elements--citrus and minimal time--I was all in. The greek yogurt panna cotta is ridiculously easy, and conveniently doen't require an overnight chill, and the combination of both fresh citruses and slightly-candied is bright, acidic, and just sweet enough to hit the spot.
Note this recipe is almost to a tee from the cookbook Gjelina, from the incredible LA restaurant, sister of Gjusta.
For the panna cotta:
- 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
- cold water
- 1/2 vanilla bean (note I found this slightly overwhelming, might bring it down minorly)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
- tiny bit of salt
Bloom gelatin in 2 tbs water for a few minutes.
Scrape seeds of vanilla bean into small saucepan. Add pod, cream, salt, and half a cup of sugar. Stir over medium high heat until you see bubbles start to form around the edges. Take off the heat and remove pod.
Put yogurt into a bowl and whisk the hot cream into it. Strain through a sieve into a baking dish (10x12 recommended, but frankly anything will do -- individual serving bowls would be really sweet). Refrigerate until set, minimum two hours.
For the citruses:
- A medley of fresh citruses: definitely some form of grapefruit and ideally variations on oranges.
- Lemons and whatever else you'd like to candy. We did buddha's hand and kumquats, which were delicious, but anything with a lot of skin would be delicious.
- 1 cup sugar
Section the fresh citruses, removing the peel and pitch. Ideally you'd like the sections to stay whole, but it doesn't matter all that much. Try not to lose the juices - these can just be poured over the pieces and kept.
For the candied citruses: slice thinly and remove seeds. Bring citruses, sugar, and 1 cup of water to a simmer. Simmer roughly 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. (For what it's worth, the soupy sweet citruses will be delicious hot, too, though a very melty topping.)
Bring it together
Scoop panna cotta onto a plate (unless individual serving, in which case keep it where it is; or feeling supes hungry, let it stay large); top with fresh citrus and candied citrus, drizzle juice from both over the top. Find yourself feeling surprisingly pleasant in the midst of winter.