Sweetened with white chocolate only, this rich, Middle Eastern-inspired panna cotta, from test kitchen assistant Phillip Basone, gets its distinctive floral aroma from an infusion of blistered cardamom. This recipe first appeared in our December 2012 issue along with Ben Mims’s story Beyond the Pale.
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped an reserved
- 2 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
- 12 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1⁄4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 1⁄3 cup orange marmalade
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 orange, peeled of pith and segmented
- Place cardamom pods in an 8″ skillet over high heat, and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until charred and blistered in spots, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and using a muddler or wooden spoon, crush to expose seeds; then transfer to a 2-qt. saucepan along with cream, ¾ cup milk, ¼ tsp. salt, and vanilla bean with seeds; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, and let steep for 10 minutes. Combine remaining milk and gelatin in a small bowl; let sit to soften gelatin, about 5 minutes.
- Place white chocolate in a bowl, and pour steeped cream mixture and gelatin mixture over chocolate; let sit for 1 minute. Using a small rubber spatula, slowly stir chocolate from the center until gelatin dissolves, and mixture emulsifies and is smooth. Pour through a fine strainer into a large glass measuring cup; discard solids. Divide mixture among six 6-8-oz. shallow ramekins or custard molds, and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.
- Meanwhile, whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a 2-qt. saucepan; add juice, liqueur, and zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring often, until thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in marmalade and butter until smooth; let cool to room temperature. Add orange segments, and stir gently to combine with sauce; set aside.
- To serve, run a paring knife around the edge of each ramekin, invert panna cotta onto a small plate, and spoon orange sauce on the side.