Finding out what assigned dish I will get to prepare for a Gr8 Dinner is always exciting. In 2012, I was assigned Vanilla Panna Cotta with Mango Compote which was a perfect dessert treat for Anna and Vince's "Shipwrecked" dinner party.
I had never tasted or made Panna Cotta so initially I was a bit nervous about trying something new until I got out some of my handy dandy cookbooks and searched the internet. It wasn't long before I realized that this was going to be quite easy to prepare and certainly one that our family would love!
One of Joel's favorite desserts is flan and so I knew he would especially love this dish because it is like flan without any eggs. Panna Cotta is kind of like vanilla pudding but not quite as sweet and honestly just as easy to make!
In Italian, panna cotta means "cooked cream" which is the perfect base for a sweet or tangy topping. We love to add this super easy to prepare mango compote. This recipe will leave you with extra mango compote to add to your toast, waffles, ice cream, yogurt or just eat straight from the spoon! YUM!
My family likes to add their own amount of compote so I serve it on the side and consequently some of us load it on and some of us just want a dab of extra flavor.
When entertaining guests, I usually serve the panna cotta with the addition of a small spoonful of the compote on top and then pass a bowl for those folks that want more. For entertaining ease, this dessert can be made two days ahead of time!
The panna cotta can be poured into a pretty glass or dish and chilled; or, for a bit of a fancier presentation, it is also super easy to chill in a small bowl or mold and flip onto a plate. This will surely impress your guests!
Everyone will think you spent hours in the kitchen making this delight, when in fact, it is one of the easiest desserts you could decide to make! Go ahead and give it a try and I promise you won't be disappointed!
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Mango Compote
- 3 Tablespoons cold water
- 3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, about 1 1/2 envelopes
- 1 1/2 cups half & half, divided
- 1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split open and scrape out the seeds
- pinch salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 ripe mangos, cut into chunks
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small bowl add the cold water. Sprinkle the gelatin on top of the water and then give it a stir. Set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the half & half (the remaining 1/2 cup will be used in the next step), yogurt, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds and pinch of salt.
- Add to a saucepan the remaining 1/2 cup of half & half and the sugar. Cook on medium low heat until it comes to a low simmer and the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the gelatin mixture and stir to combine until the gelatin has completely dissolved.
- Add the cold cream mixture to the pan and stir until combined.
- Pour panna cotta into 6 containers (4 ounces each).
- Refrigerate uncovered for about an hour until the panna cotta is set.
- Serve with Mango Compote or other garnish.
- Combine the mango chunks, lemon juice, lime juice, water, sugar and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until the compote becomes thickened.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- If not serving once cooled, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Gr8 Make Ahead Tips:
- The panna cotta and the mango compote can each be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time. Cover each separately with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
- If using a bowl or mold, lightly spray it first with oil and wipe any excess oil off with a paper towel leaving just a light coat. Pour the panna cotta into the bowl and chill until set. To turn onto a plate, run a sharp knife around the edge of the panna cotta to loosen. (With a wet paper towel, wipe the plate first just to give it a light coat of dampness so that if you need to move the panna cotta once it is on the plate, it will move easier.) Invert onto the plate. If not serving right away, cover lightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Our family likes the panna cotta somewhat firm. If you prefer a softer texture, reduce the gelatin to 2 teaspoons dissolved in 2 Tablespoons of cold water.