There is something ethereal about panna cotta amid the heat and humidity of summer. It’s cool, silky, light and rich, all at once. And holds its own against the much-loved summer dessert, the ice cream, although a bit more grown-up in its presentation. It is easier to chill and serve panna cotta in glasses. No unmolding is necessary. Paired it with mango puree (as in this recipe) or a berry coulis, you have a beautiful and luxurious dessert made — fit for summer entertaining.
A perfect make-ahead dessert served at the end of a meal. It does not take long to put it together. A few hours of chilling in the refrigerator for the panna cotta to set is all it takes. Panna cotta can be refrigerated for up to five days.
|Plain vanilla-mango panna cotta|
The vanilla-mango panna cotta recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking with Chez Moi (p.370). Mango puree is made from blending ripe mangoes with some lime juice. I used an immersion blender and blended three mangoes (pits removed), more than what the recipe calls for, in a small bowl, while tasting it along the way. Dorie recommends adding some honey. I left that out since I like the tartness of the lime juice against the sweetness of the mango and the panna cotta. The flavor combination is just right. I love the taste and the color of the ripe mango — vibrant with a tropical note.
The flavor of vanilla (accented by the pulpy seeds from one bean) is infused in an equal portion of whole milk and heavy cream mixture. The mixture was then thickened with one envelope of unflavored powdered gelatin. Nothing more involved than that. Except one: I strained the panna cotta mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. I can’t quite decide which one I like better: the vanilla-flavored panna cotta or the mango puree? I vary the proportion of these two components in each glass so everyone can choose the right combination for their liking.
What might be lacking, perhaps, is textural contrast. I played up to that by topping the panna cotta with some pistachio tuiles. That’s the first bite before digging into the panna cotta. I always enjoy having that crunchy crackling crown of a thin cookie on top of the soft and soothing cream underneath, the way it’s served in some restaurants. That’s my inspiration to recreate a more dressed-up panna cotta, layered with the pistachio tuiles on top. A real cool dessert, texture and all!
|Topped with pistachio tuiles|
I submitted this post to “Tuesdays with Dorie,” my second one. You can find wonderful postings on how other bakers have approached this recipe here.