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Chocolate orange panna cotta is a delicious chocolate dessert with a citrus twist. You start off by zesting the oranges before moving on to adding dark chocolate to the whip cream mix.

Photos by Stephanie Eddy/The Globe and Mail

Who needs love when you have chocolate? Let's face it, whether you're single or attached, deep down inside you know chocolate is the one that's really been there for you, sinfully delicious and non-judgmentally yours forever. So let's take a moment this Valentine's Day to celebrate our unwavering love for chocolate by pairing it with seasonal citrus and setting it in a bed of rich cream.

Stephanie Eddy, who writes about her baking exploits at clockworklemon.com, lives in Calgary.

Servings: four servings

Ready time: 4 hours 15 minutes (includes chilling time)

Panna Cotta

2 tsp gelatin

2 navel, Cara Cara or blood oranges

2 cups whipping cream

1/3 cup sugar

2 oz (57 g) dark chocolate, finely chopped

Orange Whipped Cream

1/2 cup whipping cream

3 tsp icing sugar

2 tsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau

Method

Zest the oranges and place the zest in a small saucepan. Cut the oranges in half and squeeze the juice into a small bowl. Measure 1/4 cup of juice for the recipe (feel free to drink any extra juice while it’s fresh). Sprinkle gelatin over the 1/4 cup of orange juice and set aside.

Pour 2 cups whipping cream into the saucepan containing the zest. Stir in the sugar and place the pan over medium-low heat. Stir the cream until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until it has completely melted into the cream.

Remove pan from heat and add the gelatin-and-orange-juice mixture. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Pour the panna cotta through a mesh sieve into a bowl to remove the orange zest.

Divide the panna cotta between four ramekins, small bowls, wine glasses or jars. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until set, approximately 4 hours.

Before serving, whip together the whipping cream, icing sugar and Grand Marnier or Cointreau using beaters or an immersion blender until soft peaks form. Top each panna cotta with a dollop of whipped cream and a small orange slice and serve immediately.

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