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!
- 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
- Coat a mould or metal pudding basins with cooking spray and set aside.
- 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).
- Prepare the gelatine, following pack instructions, then allow to cool slightly before briskly whisking into the citrus mixture.
- Pour into 6 individual 150ml (10 fl oz) basins or one mould and chill until set.
- 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.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 331
- Sugar: 54 g
- Sodium: 84 mg
- Fat: 6.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 64.2 g
- Fiber: 7.3 g
- Protein: 7.3 g
- Cholesterol: 20 mg