Monday, February 8, 2016

Pomegranate and Orange Flower Panna Cotta

Pomegranate with orange flower...

To me, it sounds kind of pretty and exotic... Do you think?

I'm happy that I have discovered these exotic Mediterranean flavours from these miniature pomegranate and orange flower panna cotta. And they are made from a newly published Italian cakes and desserts book, Dolce by Laura Zavan.

I must say... If you like making and baking Italian desserts and cakes at home, I'm sure that you will like this book. Really? Please allow me to show you a few good glimpses of this book...

pomegranate orange flower panna cotta
My miniature pomegranate and orange flower panna cotta
... made from an Italian Cakes and Desserts book: Dolce by Laura Zavan

Food writer and blogger Laura Zavan was born in Treviso, near Venice has written several books including Little Italy and Venice: Cult Recipes, runs cooking classes and writes a lot for magazines and newspapers. For this desserts and cakes book, she has showcased many traditional classics, regional specialties and also transforms classic Italian ingredients into whimsical creation.

Just content page itself, you can see that there is lots of Italian sweet recipes in this book.

Tiramisu and Co? Panna cotta and Co?

It means that there will be a classic slash (/) basic Tiramisu and panna cotta recipe in this book, then followed by a numbers of spin-offs from these Italian classics.

For example, the very first recipe of this book showcases the "official" Tiramisu from Treviso, a region of Veneto where tiramisu was born, then followed by 8 more different Tiramisu recipes that make several fruity varieties and also one super quick one. Super quick tiramisu? Yeah. The recipe promises that the tiramisu can be ready after chilling it in a freezer in 30 mins. Sounds good!

Let's see the book a little further by beginning with the chapter, Panna cotta and Co.

First we have a basic vanilla recipe...

You know... This basic Italian vanilla panna cotta recipe uses an Asian ingredient, agar agar!!!
Will talk more about this ingredient later...

After this, there are many other panna cotta that made with delicious flavours like chocolate, coffee, almond, pistachio and more...

The coffee kind of panna cotta :)
For me, I have chosen to make these pomengrante and orange flower panna cotta.

What is orange blossom water?

According to Wikipedia, orange flower water or orange blossom water is the clear, perfumed by-product of the distillation of fresh bitter-orange blossoms for their essential oil and has has been used as aromatizer in many Mediterranean traditional dessert dishes.

This is the orange blossom water that I used.
Something interesting here!!!
All the panna cotta in this book use cornflour and agar agar as their gelling agents!
Why is the Asian agar agar used to make these Italian desserts?

The author explains that she prefers to use agar agar and cornflour because they are plant based setting agents and can create a smoother panna cotta texture. You can find and buy agar agar powder in most health shops or Asian grocery shops and if you can't use agar agar / cornflour mixture to make your panna cotta, you can replace 1 tsp agar agar and 1 tbsp cornflour mixture with 4-5g gelatine (which is an animal product) for every 500ml of cream used.

To make adequate panna cotta to serve 2-3 persons:
Heat the cream over low heat. Add the cornflour mixture into the cream mixture. Whisk to combine both mixture.
Keep whisking to avoid lumps forming.
Bring mixture to boil and whisk continuously.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add orange flower water and allow mixture to cool until just warm, stirring regularly.

While the mixture is cooling, I took the seeds out of the pomegranate.

First, I cut the pomegranate into quarters.
Remove seeds and soak them in a bowl of water. The white hard-to-remove membrane (see the black arrows in the above pic) will rise to the surface.

To ensure that the panna cotta can be easily unmould, rinse individual moulds with water for about 2-3 times and use them immediately without wiping them dry.

Then, you can either 1) divide 1/4 of the seeds into the moulds and use another 1/4 to decorate (mentioned in the book), then fill the moulds with the lukewarm cream

or 2) fill the moulds with lukewarm cream and use 1/4-1/2 of the seeds to decorate the panna cotta.

I prefer the velvety smooth texture of the panna cotta without biting the hard bits of the pomegranate seeds and so I fill my really small silicon moulds with just the cream mixture.

Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 2-4 hrs or overnight for the cream to set. Unmould and decorate with more pomegranate seeds.

Ready to serve...
We love these ...
These panna cotta are so mildly sweet, fragrant, velvety smooth and beautiful!

"Mum, these cold and creamy jellies are so yummy!!!" My son was happy after sucking-in 2 to 3 of these little one-mouthful-size panna cotta all at one go.

Yeah... My son is right as everything in these panna cotta seems to be just right! They are mildly sweet, velvety smooth, nicely perfumed and very pretty and elegant too with the ruby-looking pomegranate seeds. I will definitely make these again to impress any guests and friends in the future :)

If you like making and baking Italian desserts and cakes at home and really like this book, you may wish to know this book is available now in most retail or online book shops at the retail price of AUD$49.99. If you like making and baking Italian desserts and cakes and want to see more recipes from this book, please stay tune for my next book review post.

As this post is specially written to review this book, I'm sorry that I have agreed to the publisher that I can't publish the recipes in this book in this post. However, if you really wish to make these panna cotta, please read my post in details, you will see that you can actually do it without a written recipe as I have fully illustrated the process very thoroughly to you. *Hint*

Before ending this post, I like to thank Murdoch Books for giving me this opportunity to do this review. I like to make a disclaimer here that I'm not paid to do this and like to share my most honest opinions with everyone who read this review.

Happy Cooking and please enjoy these desserts.
Please support me and like me at Facebook...


  1. I love the smell and the flavor of orange flower water... this panacotta has arabian flavors... lovely review of the book...

  2. Hi Zoe! Gong Xi Fa Cai! This panna cota sounds so exotic and lovely. I had a good laugh reading your previous post where your husband kept saying "got standard" LOL! Well, of course lah got standard. You can bake and make pau so well!

  3. Stunning pics.. such a colorful looking wanna cotta with those ruby like pomegranates :)

  4. Hello, Zoe. I too want those cold, creamy jellies! Happy CNY to you and family!

  5. Very lovely results (but if I visit you....)I need them in larger least my serving! Nice to have you on board at Cookbook Countdown with Joyce and me!

  6. Hi Zoe,
    Gong Xi Fa Cai!
    Indeed, using orange flower water, it makes this lovely creamy panna cotta sounds so exotic. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hello Zoe, may I have some of those delicious yummies:-)
    I love mini desserts

  8. I wish I could get to have that treat...looks pretty and yumm

  9. Hi Zoe,
    Your panna cotta looks very yummy! Very pretty dessert with the ruby pomegranates! This books sounds good! Thanks for linking with CC!

  10. Wow...this is gorgeous, Zoe! I really love the presentation. ^.^

  11. I will have to look for the orange water. ALl I've been able to find is rose water. Those panna cotta are beautiful.