One of my favorite flavor combinations is chocolate and orange - I think they were made for each other. I wanted to dress up my plain orange panna cotta, and chocolate seemed like the perfect choice! This dessert is light, smooth, creamy, and, of course, chocolaty, with a good burst of orange. —Terri
4 - 8 dishes
orange, preferably organic; for 1 tablespoon zest and 1/4 cup juice
sugar (caster sugar - ultra fine - is best)
whole milk, divided 3 ways
dark baking chocolate (I used 85%) cut into small chunks
Pour the cream and 1/4 cup of the milk into a large saucepan.
Zest the orange until you have about 1 tablespoon of zest and add it to the cream mixture. Juice the orange until you have 1/4 cup; pour it through a sieve and set aside for later.
Heat the cream mixture slowly, then add the sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved.
Leave the mixture on low heat, stirring occasionally, to infuse with the orange flavor while you prepare the chocolate mixture.
Put the chopped chocolate and ½ cup of the milk into a heat-proof glass bowl. Place it over a pan of water (don't let the bowl touch the water) and cook on medium heat until all the chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally. Whisk the melted chocolate and milk until smooth.
Put the remaining milk (¼ cup) into a small bowl or pan; sprinkle the gelatin over it and set aside. It will develop a lovely bloom on top of the milk.
If you'd rather not have bits of zest in the final product (I don't mind them), put the cream/orange mixture through a sieve, then return it to the pan. Increase the temperature on the mixture; add the chocolate mixture and stir until well blended.
Bring the mixture just to a boil and remove from heat.
Add the orange juice and the vanilla and orange extracts and whisk until blended.
Add the gelatin/milk mixture and whisk thoroughly until blended.
Let the mixture cool for a few minutes while you prepare the ramekins. This recipe fills six 6-ounce ramekins. Line them up on a baking tray - make sure it's one that will fit in your refrigerator. (It's easier to manage a bunch of small dishes on a tray.)
Fill each ramekin with the panna cotta mixture. Let the dishes cool at room temperature for about 1/2 hour, then put them in the refrigerator.
The dessert should set for about 6 hours, or overnight if you can wait that long!