Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bergamot heaven, what I'm baking

Just bought my bergamots and yesterday my whole kitchen smelled like Earl Grey, an aroma that makes me incredibly happy. January might be chill and rainy and grey outside but inside it's "Earl" grey.

We still have 6 bergamots left for sale in the shop - in store customers only - no shipping since this is a perishable item - $2.00 each.

To use my four bergamots: for my first recipe I was up to my elbows in semisweet chocolate adding zest of bergamot to the cream and chocolate blend, then rolling the truffles in cocoa powder. Made a day ahead the bergamot flavor actually increases in strength giving you a mouth full of chocolate-bergamot goodness.

Next I took a basic pound cake recipe - lots of butter and sour cream - adding zest to the batter and topping the warm out of the oven creation with a sugar/bergamot juice glaze. Again, aging increases the flavor.

Ran out of time to try my ice box cookies and muffins - but that's next.



  1. Thank you so much for getting these — I'm having a blast playing with them! Here's the recipe I used for my bergamot panna cotta; this makes about 8-10 servings:

    1 (largeish) bergamot
    4 cups cream
    2/3 cup sugar
    2 packets unflavored gelatin (powder)
    1/2 vanilla bean

    Carefully peel strips of rind off the bergamot; get as much of the rind as you can off of it, being careful to get as little pith as possible in the process. Juice the stripped bergamot (this should give you about 3oz of juice), strain the juice into a large bowl and set it aside.

    Put the sugar and the bergamot peel into a medium saucepan and pour in the cream; split and scrape the half vanilla bean and add both seeds and bean to the pot. Simmer over medium heat to just below boiling, stirring regularly to dissolve the sugar. Cover and remove from heat; let it steep for 30 minutes.

    After that half-hour, sprinkle the gelatin powder over your bergamot juice and let it sit for about 10m to bloom and soften the gelatin. (If you don't hydrate all the gelatin, sprinkle a little water over the top to try and get it all). Meanwhile, return the cream to medium heat to reheat it; you want it just barely too hot to leave a finger in. (This should be done just about the same time as the gelatin is.)

    Once the cream is hot enough, pour it through a fine mesh strainer (to remove the peel and bean) on top of the gelatin; stir constantly until all the gelatin dissolves into the cream. Cover with plastic and let it cool at room temperature for about a half-hour, then pour it out into ramekins (I just use disposable cups - no points for plating!), cover those (with plastic wrap or lids or whatever) and chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Serve chilled; this works well with a caramel sauce or a citrus reduction.

    It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is — there's a bit of prepwork on the vanilla bean and the bergamot, but really it's mixing a bunch of stuff together, heating it a bit, mixing more stuff together and then chilling. It's sinfully smooth, and with the other flavors so muted the bergamot really shines through.

  2. Love your love of Bergamot!!! We share it so much, we just named our daughter Bergamot three weeks ago! Wish we'd known about Bergamot Week, we would have celebrated along with scent in the whole world.

    We are sourcing a Bergamot Orange tree to plant here in Berkeley CA to mark her birth and are very curious to do some cooking with Bergamot zest as well. Saw that you referenced a rare citrus grower in CA that provides you with your supply—could you share the reference?

    Please email me at

    Thanks much,
    Scott + Sasha + Bergamot