Citrus Panna Cotta

How many of you have cooked with orange flower water?

I for one sure haven’t before this recipe. Outside London, the ingredient is not readily available and every time I saw a recipe in a cookbook or magazine that used orange flower water I quickly dismissed it. What’s the point?

By sheer coincidence while walking around Borough Market a friend pointed it out to me at a Middle Eastern stall and immediately I pounced and bought rosewater too. Two more exotic ingredients had been added to my already exploding pantry and I sometimes wonder how I will get to try each product that my treasure trove holds because gosh, there are just so many. Shhh, don’t tell hubby who clucks his tongue when he sees it. Stock management has yet to become my strong point.

When I opened the bottle of orange water the pleasantly sweet fragrance filled the air and my nose did a little happy dance. Feeling confident I splashed a bit on my finger and tasted. Bitter and strong tasting it definitely is not meant to be eaten straight out of a bottle. This traditional Middle Eastern ingredient is used to delicately flavour panna cottas, custard and mousses. Morrocans like to sprinkle some of it over grated carrot salad. Avoid heavy-handedness because it can overpower all the other components of a dish.

If you can’t get hold of orange flower water, fear not, the panna cotta will still taste fabulous!

Source: olive Magazine

Download and/or print the recipe! Click HERE.

Citrus Panna Cotta
Serves 6
Preparation Time: 30 mins – Chilling Time: 6+ hours
  • 1 can (405g) condensed milk
  • 100ml (3½ fl oz) crème fraîche
  • 2 lemons, both juiced and 1 zested
  • 300ml (½ pt) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) orange flower water [optional]
  • 15g (½ oz) gelatine sachet
  • 1 pink grapefruit, segmented
  • 2 oranges, segmented
  • 2 passion fruit, halved
  1. Coat a mould or metal pudding basins with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk the condensed milk and crème fraîche in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the zest and juice of the lemons, orange juice and orange flower water (if using).
  3. Prepare the gelatine, following pack instructions, then allow to cool slightly before briskly whisking into the citrus mixture.
  4. Pour into 6 individual 150ml (10 fl oz) basins or one mould and chill until set.
  5. Loosen the panna cotta by dipping briefly into hot water before turning out on to a plate. To serve, decorate with the grapefruit and orange segments and passion fruit.
  • For those who would like this dessert to be less calorific can substitute the condensed milk with a “lighter”/diet equivalent, and use half-fat crème fraîche instead.
  • Instead of using cooking spray I simply used silicone moulds that don’t need any greasing.
  • If you would like your panna cotta perfectly smooth, omit the lemon zest.

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  1. says

    I have tried orange flower water once and found it a but synthetic tasting; I may have gotten a bad brand. After seeing your beautiful recipe, I am inspired to give orange flower water another chance. I’m lucky to live in an area where I can find pretty much any sort of grocery store – korean, indian, middle eastern, african, hispanic….so, yay!

  2. says

    This kind of dish I can only found in a five star restaurant. Citrus Panna Cotta looks so luxurious. I am sure I can’t afford it to buy in a restaurant. That is why I am going to try that recipe so that I can taste it. I just wish I can do it perfectly.

  3. Yuri says

    The directions mention orange juice but I don’t see it on the ingredients list. Is it supposed to be an ingredient in this recipe? I’d love to try this recipe out so I wanted to make sure that I got it right!

  4. Jane Willis says

    I made this last weekend. The dusty bottle of orange flower water in the back of the cupboard turned out to be out-of-date rosewater so I left it out, but I don’t think it was lacking anything. It was smooth, creamy and delicious. In fact the only thing that let the dish down was the oranges in the accompaniment. I’d been so excited to find oranges that still had leaves attached, I thought they would be really fresh and juicy, but in fact they turned out to be dry and tasteless. A pity as I had paid a premium price for them.

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