Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grapefruit Panna Cotta with Candied Cranberries

Candied Cranberries & Grapefruit Panna Cotta

I’m going to need to make this a quick one, everybody!  I’ve been wanting to get this recipe to you for days and days, but I’ve had some camera issues, and that kept getting in my way.  And now it’s super late already, and I still have about a half dozen things on my to-do list that just must be accomplished before I go to bed, because when I wake up tomorrow, there’ll be no time for anything but cooking!  Yessss!  Thanksgiving cooking!  Can’t wait. 

Late Fall Fruit

And so, with no further ado, let me present to you these lovely Grapefruit Panna Cottas with Candied Cranberries.  Impossibly luscious, utterly smooth, as creamy as creamy can be.  And the flavor… to die for.  Tart, refreshing grapefruit married with smooth, round vanilla.  On top, a cool dollop of freshly whipped cream, and then…  then it’s the best part of all, glittering sugar-coated cranberries, crackly and crunchy, bright and tart and oh so pretty. 

Sparkling Cranberries

To me, this dessert is the perfect blend of autumn and winter.  (Am I’m really bringing up winter already?!)  Cranberries - a quintessential fall fruit – and grapefruit – a darling of winter.  The combination makes them absolutely perfect for this time of year.  And that’s why I think, for those of you who aren’t that crazy about pumpkin pie (I’m one of those persons myself, by the way), this could be a perfect ending to your Thanksgiving feast.  I only hope I’m not too late in getting this to you!   I won’t be too hard on myself though, because these pretty panna cottas are simply splendid no matter what the occasion.  You hardly need a holiday to enjoy them! 

Grapefruit Panna Cotta and Candied Cranberries

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  Happy cooking!  Happy eating!

Grapefruit Panna Cotta
Serves 6
 Grapefruit Panna Cotta with Candied Cranberries
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin
1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice (be sure to zest the grapefruit before juicing it)
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 cup grapefruit zest (from about 3 grapefruits)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup sour cream
1 to 2 drops red food coloring
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the grapefruit juice and allow it to set for at least five minutes.
In a medium saucepot, combine the heavy cream, vanilla bean (scrape the seeds from the pod and add it all to the pot), grapefruit zest, sugar and salt.  Bring to just a simmer (do not boil) over medium-high heat, then remove from the heat.  Add the gelatin mixture to the cream mixture  and stir to thoroughly dissolve.  Let steep for about 15 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the zest and vanilla bean. 
Grapefruit & Vanilla
Place the sour cream in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Slowly add the cream mixture, stirring in a little at a time, until smooth.  (I like to use a rubber spatula, rather than a whisk, because it makes for less bubbles on top of the panna cotta.  But this means that I have to stir extra well, to insure total smoothness and combination of ingredients.)
Add one to two drops of red food coloring, just enough to lightly tinge it with pink, and stir to thoroughly blend. 
Fill six tea cups or soufflé cups about 3/4 full with the cream mixture.  Chill for at least 8 hours. 
To serve, top with a dollop of whipped cream and some candied cranberries.  (See recipe just below.)

For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisking by hand or with an electric mixer, whip the cream to soft peaks (When you stick a spoon into the cream and lift it out, a point will form then droop down after a second or two).  Add sugar and vanilla and whip to firm peaks (The point formed in the cream will stand straight up and not fall over.)

Cranberries & Grapefruit

Candied Cranberries
Makes about 3 cups
Candied Cranberries
2 cups water
2 cups plus about 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 bag fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)
In a medium saucepot, combine the water and 2 cups sugar and bring to just a simmer over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool about 10 minutes.  Add the cranberries to the sugar-water mixture.  Refrigerate overnight, in an air-tight container. 
The next day, add the rest of the granulated sugar to a small mixing bowl.  Drain the cranberries from the sugar water.  One by one, toss the soaked cranberries in the sugar, coating all sides with sugar, then place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking tray.  Allow to dry, uncovered for about 3 hours, then serve. 
To store, keep in an air-tight container.  Unfortunately, keeping them covered will make them a little sticky and moist, dissolving the sugar.  In this case,  just roll them in a small bowl of sugar again and allow them to dry out for a little while.  They’ll be as good as new. 


  1. Just in time! I'll get started tomorrow and the cranberries will be ready for Thursday, ha, how perfect. Don't have any food coloring but I can probably cheat and use beet juice instead. Thanks a million plus one again, Kate, =D

  2. You should have camera problems more often! Those pictures are GORGEOUS! I love the last one with the grapefruit on top of the berries. Also, my mouth is watering like crazy! The candied cranberries look delicious!

  3. Yao, Thanks for the comment! I'm glad to know I'm not too late for at least one reader's holiday table! And I think beet juice would work perfectly - better than yucky food coloring even. You are too good. :) And I should have mentioned above... I actually have you to thank for the recipe above! Were it not for the dinner party I cooked for your family, I never would have come up with this recipe! When my other citrusy dessert fell short of my high expectation, I thought up these near the last minute, and ended up with something a million times better than even my first plan! Cheers to you for that!

    And MDziubek, Thank you! You are so cute... camera problems more often. :) Thanks.