How To Make Mango Panna Cotta

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Have you ever tried Mango Panna Cotta? It’s an Italian Dessert that is both sweet and creamy. If you’ve never tried it then today I’ll show you how to make Mango Panna Cotta at home. Mango Panna Cotta is a fresh way of changing your regular boring Mango Lassi routine. It is an easy summer dessert that you can make for your family in just 10 minutes. The procedure is simple, the kids might even love helping you with this.

Mango Panna Cotta

Ingredients

for 4 servings

PANNA COTTA

  • 1 tablespoon gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 ⅓ cups milk(320 mL)
  • ¼ cup sugar(50 g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup heavy cream(180 mL)

MANGO PURÉE

  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup orange juice(60 mL)
  • mango, diced, to serve
  • raspberry, to serve

Nutrition Info

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Preparation

  1. In a bowl, combine the water and gelatin. When gelatin thickens, microwave for 10 seconds.
  2. Combine sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a small pan over low heat and stir. Once it begins to simmer, add the gelatin and whisk to combine.
  3. Place a bowl into a bowl filled with ice. Strain the milk mixture through a sieve into the empty bowl.
  4. Add the heavy cream and whisk until the mixture begins to thicken.
  5. Transfer the mixture to four cups, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  6. Combine diced mango, sugar, lemon juice, and orange juice in a pan and stir over medium heat until boiling. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.
  7. Turn down the heat to low, and bring to a simmer. Chill for one hour.
  8. Pour the mango purée over the panna cotta. Top with diced mango and raspberries.
  9. Enjoy!

MANGO PANNA COTTA

This Double Mango Panna Cotta Recipe makes the most delicious and light Summer Dessert. Super creamy and packed with flavour, this Panna Cotta with Mango is a great make-ahead dessert for parties, barbecues and summer gatherings!

Close up on a panna cotta in a small glass cup placed over a white plate

WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE

If you are looking for a light and fresh summer dessert, you MUST try this recipe for Mango Panna Cotta. It is a super easy dessert that can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to be served.

The sweet Mango fruit is combined with fresh Lime Zest and a little bit of Vanilla for a truly flavourful dessert. Finish it with some freshly sliced Mango, a sprinkle of Mint and some desiccated Coconut for a beautiful yet easy party dessert!

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INGREDIENTS

The ingredients required to make a Panna Cotta are super simple: a liquid – usually cream or milk (or a combination of both like here), a little bit of sugar and some gelatine. For this recipe, we added some Mango Coulis, Lime Zest and Vanilla for flavouring.

To make this recipe, you will need 6 ingredients only (scroll down to recipe card for all quantities):

  • Mango Coulis: a light mango sauce made from mango, sugar and lime juice
  • Full Cream Milk + Heavy / Thickened Cream: You can make Panna Cotta with only Milk or only Cream, but I have found that the combination of both is a great way to create a light yet rich dessert
  • Caster Sugar: or fine White Sugar
  • Lime Zest: a simple way to add even more freshness to the dessert!
  • Gelatine Powder: needed to set the Panna Cotta and give it its light jelly-like texture.
  • Vanilla Paste: an optional ingredient but a great way to boost the flavours of the dessert.

HOW TO MAKE PANNA COTTA WITH MANGO

There are two steps to make this recipe: first, prepare the Mango Coulis, then make the Panna Cotta Cream.

The Mango Coulis might add an extra step, but it can actually be prepared up to a week in advance!

MANGO COULIS

As explained above, a Mango Coulis is a thick mango sauce made from cooking mango, lime juice and sugar. The compote is then blended until smooth. It makes a great thick mango sauce that can be kept for about a week in the fridge.

PANNA COTTA CREAM

Once the Coulis is ready, you can start preparing the Panna Cotta:

  • Place the Milk, Cream, Sugar, Mango Coulis and Vanilla Paste (optional) in a small Pot.
  • Whisk well to combine, then place on the stove on low to medium heat.
  • Heat up until you reach a simmer. Make sure to stay close as milk tends to start boiling (and boiling over…) very quickly! Remove from the heat.
Process shot: cooking the milk, cream and mango
  • While the liquids are heating up, place the Gelatine Powder in a small bowl and add a little bit of very cold water to dissolve. I added about 1 to 2 tablespoons of water for 2 teaspoons of gelatine powder.
  • Remove the pot from the stove and add the dissolved Gelatine to the hot liquid. Mix very well with a whisk to fully melt and combine the gelatine.
  • Add the Lime Zest and whisk to combine
  • Directly pour the Panna Cotta Cream into individual serving Cups.
  • Place in the fridge to cool down and set. It will take at least 2 hours for the cream to fully set. Make sure to cover each cups so that the desserts don’t absorb any odours from the fridge.

Before serving:

  • when ready to serve, add the rest of the Mango Coulis over the set Panna Cotta Cream and finish with some fresh Mango cubes, some fresh Mint and a little bit of desiccated Coconut.

TIPS TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • If preferred, you can use all Milk or all Cream instead of a mix of Milk + Cream (substitute 1 for 1). With all Milk, you will get a very light panna cotta. Using all cream will get you a richer dessert.
  • Add Vanilla Paste (or vanilla extract) to the panna cotta to boost its flavour. Vanilla actually acts as a flavour intensifier!
  • Make sure to heat up the liquids on a low to medium heat to avoid burning the milk/cream or having it boiling over. And stay close – once it starts getting hot, it will starts to boil very quickly!
  • Don’t forget to dissolve the Gelatine in cold Water before adding it to the cream. This is to insure it melts evenly into the cream.
  • Add the gelatine away from the heat – gelatine does not need to be boiled or be mixed at a high temperature to be activated.
  • To insure the gelatine is very evenly melted into the cream, you can use an Immersion Blender to mix it in.
  • Add the Lime Zest at the end – and away from the heat – so that it does not turn brown and keeps its bright green colour.
  • To easily pour the liquid panna cotta into individual cups, transfer it into a measuring jug first. You can also set the Panna Cotta in individual Silicone Molds if you do not want to serve them into cups.
  • Make sure the Mango Panna Cottas have fully set before topping them with the rest of the Coulis, so that you get clean layers.
Close up on the mango coulis and toppings

RECIPE FAQS

Can I use Mango Puree instead of a Coulis?

I personally prefer to use a Coulis instead of a simple puree because the Sugar and Lime Juice added to the coulis will really help bring out the flavours of the mango.

If you are looking for an easier or quicker alternative, you can absolutely use a homemade Mango Puree instead. Simply blend about 500 grams (1 pounds) of Fresh (or thawed frozen) Mangoes until smooth.

Note that if using puree instead of coulis, the second layer will be much more liquid and not as thick as here.

Can I make this recipe Dairy/Free or Vegan?

Absolutely – that’s one of the great thing about Panna Cotta. You can really use any type of Cream and/or Milk – Dairy and Dairy-Free – to prepare it.

To make this recipe Dairy-Free, simply replace the Milk by a Dairy-Free Milk (Soy, Almond, Coconut,…) and the Cream by a Plant-Based Cream like Coconut Cream or Soy Cream.

Flavour-wise, I highly recommend using Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream (if you like coconut of course). Coconut works perfectly with the tropical flavour of Mango!

For a Vegan alternative, you will need to use another type of gelling agent than Gelatine.

Can I make this Panna Cotta Without Gelatine?

Yes, you can very easily replace the Gelatine with a Vegan Alternative: Agar Agar. Agar is a natural, plant-based gelling agent derived from algae. Unfortunately, it does not work exactly the same way as gelatine as it needs to be boiled to activate, which means you cannot always substitute one for the other.

Luckily, Panna Cotta is one of recipe where you can absolutely substitute one for the other since we are boiling the liquids anyway! Be careful when replacing gelatine for agar though, as agar has a much stronger gelling ability than gelatine.

To make this recipe with agar agar like I did with my Vegan Coconut Panna Cotta, you will need to replace the Gelatine Powder with 3/4 teaspoon of Agar Powder (or 1.5 grams).

The process to incorporate the agar agar will be slightly different too. You will need to bring the Milk, Cream, Sugar and Mango Coulis to a boil first, then add the Agar Agar Powder and whisk vigorously for about 2 minutes.

Panna Cotta in a cup topped with coulis and fresh mango

STORING THIS DESSERT

HOW TO KEEP THE DESSERT

The Mango Coulis can be stored in the fridge in a jar or air-tight container for up to a week before using it to make this dessert. It can also be frozen for a couple of months!

The Panna Cotta itself should be stored in the fridge, covered with wrap, and be served within two days.

Mango Panna Cotta

Velvety and creamy with a delightful little wobble, my Mango Panna Cotta is a true summertime delight. Made with agar agar in place of the normal gelatin, this tropically flavored Italian dessert is suitable for vegetarians and can easily be made vegan. Best of all, this vegetarian panna cotta comes together with just 15 minutes of active work!

About Mango Panna Cotta

Panna cotta means “cooked cream” in Italian. It is a softly set pudding that is milky and rich, yet firm. Panna cotta can be wholly made with cream or with a combination of cream, milk, and fruits.

This famous Italian dessert is our favorite, so I try to make it at least a few times a year. Our favorite iteration comes about when mango season is in full swing. I make my mango panna cotta with the heaps of Alphonso mangoes I can’t help but purchase; they’re too delicious!

Aside from this mango-flavored recipe, I also make a strawberry panna cotta in the spring, and regular Panna Cotta Recipe during the rest of the year. If you have never made it, fear not! This is a simple, straightforward recipe that I am certain you can master.

More on this recipe

Generally speaking, gelatin is used to set panna cotta, but being vegetarians we do not use gelatin. Luckily, there is a clever method for making this a vegetarian version.

The thickening & setting ingredient in this vegetarian mango panna cotta is an ingredient known as agar agar, and not the gelatin that is typically used. Agar agar is a vegan ingredient acquired from a particular kind of algae. It is often used in vegan or vegetarian desserts as a stand-in for gelatin.

If you’ve ever had the flavored china grass that is available in the stores, then you’ve already tried agar agar! It is a nearly flavorless ingredient, and a real boon in any vegetarian or vegan kitchen. It can act as an egg substitute in puddings and a gelatin substitute in jellies.

Agar agar strands and powder are available easily online and in some Indian metro cities — either will work for this mango panna cotta recipe.

If you’re worried about buying an ingredient for just a single recipe, I’m here to allay your concerns. Aside from my panna cotta recipes, agar agar is also used in my Mango Pudding and Mango Cheesecake recipes!

Once set, the panna cotta should gently wobble. I have used 1.5 tablespoons of chopped agar agar strands, which set this vegetarian panna cotta perfectly. I have used less amount of agar agar in the past and the panna cotta did not set well, so be sure to measure accurately.

Perhaps the most fear-inducing step of making panna cotta is the unmolding process. You just created a gorgeous dessert and want it to look pretty on the plate! Here’s the deal: so long as you oil your serving bowls or ramekins, the mango panna cotta should easily release from the container for a flawless presentation.

Step-by-Step Guide

How To Make Mango Panna Cotta

Making mango panna cotta is easy. I have used Alphonso mangoes to make the mango pulp because they are abundant here. Feel free to use any good-quality sweet , ripe mangoes. Just make sure they are not fibrous.

For the cream, I used light cream (25 to 35% fat) to save on some calories, but regular whipping or heavy cream will also work.

Prep

1. First, chop the agar agar strands into small pieces and soak them in ¼ cup of warm water for 10 minutes. You will need 1.5 tablespoons of chopped agar agar strands.

I like to use kitchen scissors to chop the agar agar strands. Remember to chop the agar agar into very small pieces. You can also use 1.5 teaspoons of powdered agar agar if you would prefer to skip this step.

2. Meanwhile, peel, chop, and then purée 2 medium-sized alphonso mangoes in a blender.

Make sure to use mangoes which yield a thick pulp. Mangoes which make for a juicy or runny pulp will affect the texture and consistency of panna cotta making it more like a pudding.

Cook Cream Mixture

3. Mix 1.25 cups light cream or whipping cream, 1 cup whole milk, and ½ cup sugar in a saucepan and place it over low to medium-low heat. Stir with a wired whisk.

The sugar should dissolve completely. Keep stirring at intervals while the cream mixture comes to a gentle simmer.

Cook Agar Agar

4. At the same time, place the agar agar and water solution on the stovetop. Keep stirring until the agar agar strands are dissolved.

agar agar strands simmering in water.

Combine

5. The cream+milk+sugar mixture should come to a gentle simmer. Turn off the heat as soon as it does.

milk mixture is just beginning to bubble and simmer, which means it is time to remove from the heat source.

6. The agar agar has also dissolved by now.

7. Mix the hot agar agar solution into the hot cream+milk+sugar mixture and stir very well with a wired whisk.

8. Wait for about 5 minutes to allow the panna cotta mixture to cool a bit, then add the prepared mango purée and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.

9. Mix very well with a whisk until the mixture is entirely uniform.

Assemble and Refrigerate

10. If you plan to serve your mango panna cotta on a plate, be sure to grease your bowls.

Pour the panna cotta mixture into serving bowls. Cover the serving bowls with a lid, or aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

Allow it to cool for about an hour, or until it is just warm to the touch. Place the bowls in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours or more till the mango panna cotta looks wobbly and is perfectly set.

11. Serve mango panna cotta chilled. I like to top the serving bowls with some chopped mango pieces or garnish with mint leaves for a bit of extra flair. Enjoy!

Expert Tips

Making this vegetarian panna cotta recipe is easy, but I do have a few tips to share to ensure your success:

  1. Be sure to chop your agar agar strands into very small pieces. This will help it dissolve more easily. I find that using scissors makes the process easy, but you can also use your spice grinder or a sharp chef’s knife if you prefer. You can also opt to use agar agar powder if you would prefer to skip this step.
  2. Be sure to grease your bowls if you want to unmold the panna cotta onto a serving plate. I generally serve it straight from the bowls, but the traditional Italian presentation usually has it served on a plate. If you are using a complexly patterned mold, be sure to get all the nooks and crannies well oiled.
  3. Plan ahead! Panna cotta requires at least 4 to 5 hours to set up in the fridge. I recommend making it the night before you plan on serving it to ensure you have ample chilling time.

FAQs

Are panna cotta and crème brûlée the same thing?

No! Crème brûlée is a French dessert made from a custard that is first cooked in a water bath, then topped with sugar. The sugar is then caramelized by using a blow-torch or a broiler (the name means “burnt cream,” which refers to this caramelization process).

Panna cotta, on the other hand, is more like a pudding in preparation. While it means “cooked cream,” all of the cooking is done on the stovetop; the oven and water-bath never come into the equation. Panna cotta is also usually made without eggs, whereas eggs are usually a big component of crème brûlée.

If you’re eager to make a comparison, panna cotta is similar to Mexican flan, but without the built-in caramel sauce.

Can I make vegan panna cotta?

Sure! Simply swap in coconut cream and full-fat canned coconut milk for the dairy.

How do you eat panna cotta?

I usually serve my panna cotta straight from the bowls I use to set it up. I like to add a little texture by adding chopped fruit, but you can also use a fruit coulis if you prefer.

If you’d like a slightly fancier presentation, you can serve the set panna cotta on a plate — just be sure to thoroughly grease your molds so you have a smooth, shiny surface.

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