It was my dad’s 69th birthday last week. A very active person, he continues with his career, fitness regime and social life as actively. Even on his birthday, he was going to be out in the first half doing client visits, and major part of the second half in a social event. So my sister Pre’s family n mine were left with only the fag end of the day to plan a celebration. So we decided to assemble late in the evening at my place as kids wanted to plan some surprise for Grand-dad with candles and stuff!
Since dad and mom were coming over after a gala dinner at the social event, I planned to dish out some dessert. Kids wanted a cake anyway and also the mandatory “Happy Birthday” song, without either of them, a birthday celebration is incomplete, according to them! So a chocolate truffle cake was already on the top of the menu at the Dessert Party that we were going to have.
I had to thus, make everyone a dessert that was light on the tummy and hopefully the girdle as well and still would melt in the mouth!
Looking for something that can be served in a double shot helping, I settled for making the very Italian Panna Cotta.
Panna Cotta, literally means ‘Cooked Cream’ in Italian. It’s an easy to make dessert which uses Fresh Cream as its core ingredient. Traditionally, Panna Cotta uses egg as its ingredient and is baked at low temperatures. However, the no-bake eggless version is now quite popular and a small amount of gelatin is blended in this version, to give it the soft setting just to hold it all together. This works perfect if the dessert is being served in glasses. However, if it is being set in a mould to be unmoulded into a dish before serving, a dash of additional gelatin would be of help.
I squared in on making a Layered Panna Cotta with Mango and Coconut cream to be served as a double shot helping.
To get going I needed the following to serve about 8-10 persons,
2 cups of Fresh Cream
2 cups of Alphonso Mango puree (not in season, I used a tinned one)
2 cups of thick coconut milk (Many brands are available in 200ml cartons, however I prefer the creaminess of Dabur Hommade for this)
4 tbsp of Gelatin
5-6 tbsp Sugar (can vary depending on the sweetness of the puree and also the sweetness preferred for the final dessert)
2 drops vanilla essence
10 Fresh Mint sprigs for garnish
Take the mango puree and coconut milk in two separate mixing bowls.
Heat the cream in a non-stick pan, add vanilla essence and sugar and mix well till sugar has blended in well. Cool it a little, and then add half of the mixture to the mango puree and the balance half to the coconut milk. Stir well both the mixtures well till it is fully blended and smooth in texture.
Take 1/3 cup of hot water in a bowl, add the gelation and keep stirring till completely dissolved. Slowly add half the gelation water to the mango puree stirring briskly so that it blends perfectly. Repeat the process by adding the other half to the coconut milk.
Add a quarter inch layer of the coconut Cream mix in the serving glasses and refrigerate it for about 40-60 min or till loosely set. Remove from fridge and lightly spoon in a quarter inch of the mango mix taking care not to break the coconut milk layer. Refrigerate again. Repeat this depending on the number of layers you plan to make.
Since I did not have more than 4 hours to get this ready I did 3 layers – Coconut cream – Mango Cream – Coconut cream. More the layers you are able to make, lovelier will your dessert look.
Once the final layer has set, garnish it with a sprig of Fresh Mint and voila! Layered Panna Cotta is ready to serve. Drool…. Drool…. Drool!
It looks as delectable as it tastes yummy. And the smooth creaminess just melts in the mouth. Served a double shot portion and it was not heavy on the tummy too. Plus, the yummy expressions on faces of everyone who dig into my dessert was like the proverbial ‘cherry’ on the Panna Cotta!
The radiance on Pre and Kedar’s faces says it all, isn’t it?!!
You can make ‘n’ number of versions of Panna Cotta by adding crushes, sauces, fresh fruit and nuts as blended into the mix or as a topping, to give it your signature.
I plan to try out a mint flavoured version sometime soon…. Very excited…
A simple vanilla version topped with Chocolate fudge and chips or with Blueberry sauce just tastes out of this world and can make your guests keep wanting more… Try it…
And keep creating…. So long!