Beet Panna Cotta with Orange and Cucumber

Beet Panna Cotta with Orange and Cucumber Created by the chefs at etoile Restaurant, this naturally pink appetizer has become one of the signature dishes at our annual Pink Party, a fundraising event held at the Domaine Chandon winery to benefit Breast Cancer Research. The deep red color of the beets produces a charming shade of pink when they are mixed with the other ingredients, while the natural beet sugar adds sweetness. Have fun with the presentation and serve this dish in small portions in any ramekin or novelty container, like the ceramic spoons pictured here.

Preparation time: Allow 30 minutes for assembly.
Allow 2 hours for beet preparation.

Ingredients for panna cotta:
2 cups cooked red beets (see below)*
2 cups cream
1 cup orange juice
1 tbsp salt
2 sheets of gelatin

Instructions for panna cotta:
In a sauce pot, place beets and orange juice together, bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, add cream and salt. Bring to a low simmer for 5 minutes. In a small bowl of ice water and gelatin, let bloom for about five minutes until gelatin is soft. Wisk gelatin into beet cream mixture until dissolved. Place mixture in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into serving dish. Chill at least 3 hours.

Ingredients for beets
4 medium-sized red beets
4 cups rock salt

Instructions for beets
Heat oven to 400°F. On a half sheet pan, lay out the rock salt evenly, wash beets and place on top of rock salt. Bake for 1 hour and then rotate beets. Bake for another hour. When the beets are ready you should be able to place a skewer through them with ease. Peel beets while warm. Dice and set aside.

Ingredients for cucumber compote:
1 cup English cucumber, diced into 1/8” cubes (brunoise cut)**
2 large shallots, diced into 1/8” cubes (brunoise cut)**
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp orange juice (fresh)
1 tbsp chervil (minced)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for orange:
2 oranges of your choice (segmented)

Instructions for orange:
In a small bowl place shallots, vinegar and orange, let stand for 10 minutes, add all other ingredients and mix well.

Final assembly:
Place a small amount of cucumber compote on top of the panna cotta and garnish with a citrus segment or two or an edible pink flower.

Makes 25 single hors d’oeuvre servings.

*Cut down your prep time by purchasing already roasted and peeled beets from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

** Brunoise is a fine, square cut of any raw vegetable that yields tiny cubes approximately 1/8” (3 cm) in size.

Suggested wine pairing: Chandon Rosé