The dessert that’s quick, simple and delish!

When David Lebovitz says that if you take more than five minutes to put together a pannacotta, then you’re definitely doing something wrong, he is right. This Italian dessert takes as much time to put together as it takes to polish it off! And that, my friend, is one of those recipes that’s a winner in these time-crunched days.

I’ve been wanting to make a pannacotta for a while now but I always thought it would be some kind of a laborious process. So when we, The Groovy Gourmets, had an option to vote for what we would make this month I was mighty pleased to find pannacotta on this list. Luck was on my side and it was decided that the members of this group, started by Radhika of Tickling Palates and Anusha of Tomato Blues, would try their version of this creamy Italian dessert.

The plain vanilla pannacotta with a berry compote has always been a favourite, in fact, I love pannacotta that’s plain and accompanied with a berry-based something. I’ve always felt that the acidic nature of the berries contrasts beautifully with the silky, creamy texture of the pannacotta. So I wasn’t too overwhelmed with options when I decided to make this dessert. However, I couldn’t find any fresh berries and I didn’t want to use a preserve to make a sauce. Now it is summer and if you don’t make something with mangoes, then you’d be sinning, right? So mango it was! I didn’t want to make this complex because the fruits that I used were of the Banganpalli variety, something that’s hard to find in Mumbai and the only variety of mango I drool for (yes, I’m weird like that!). So all I did was chop the mangoes roughly, mashed them with the back of a spoon and chilled them until the juices were pouring out. Since the Banganpalli is slightly tart, compared to other varieties of mango, it went really well with the pannacotta’s smoothness.

Mango pannacotta

200ml of fresh cream (I used Amul)
2 tbsp of milk
4-5 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla essence
1 1/2 tsp of gelatin
1/2 cup of water

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, give it a quick stir, cover and allow it to bloom for about five to 10 minutes.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together and gently bring it to a boil while stirring continuously. When the bubbles begin to form along the rim of the pan quickly add the gelatin mixture to this and mix well. Allow it to reach boiling point once again and then immediately turn off the flame.

Let this mixture cool down for about a minute and then pour it into clean moulds or glasses. Let it chill in the fridge for a minimum of four hours before serving.

For the mango topping

1/2 cup of Banganpalli mangoes, chopped

Mash the cut fruit with the back of a spoon to force the juices to come out. Chill in the fridge before spooning over the set pannacotta. Serve chilled.

Sunshine and pannacotta

* Instead of vanilla essence, you can use vanilla bean or extract or even something else like lemon or orange zest to flavour the pannacotta. Another idea would be to add some mango pulp to flavour the cream.

* You can serve the plain vanilla pannacotta with any kind of topping – I had some with Khubani ka meetha (stewed apricots in syrup) which I’d got from a recent trip to Hyderabad. Apart from fruit you can also opt for dark chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, coffee sauce… and the list is endless.

* To make this recipe vegan, use soy milk or coconut milk (I’d go for the latter because it is naturally creamy) and replace the gelatin with agar-agar.


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