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Mango Lassi Panna Cotta with Spiced Almond Florentines

February 27, 2011

I’m feeling a little guilty. Not for indulging in a rich, creamy panna cotta and more than a few crispy Florentine cookies. Oh no. I’m totally fine with that. I’m feeling guilty because, for all my preaching of using fresh, unprocessed ingredients, for this recipe I used mango “juice drink”…in a bottle…from concentrate.

I know, I know. Like I said, I’m a bit embarrassed. The fact is, though, I tried using pureed fresh mangoes for this panna cotta and it just didn’t work. Seattle isn’t the place for tropical fruit. The mangoes lacked flavor, were muted in color, and added an unwelcome pulpy texture to what should have been a creamy, smooth dessert. So I went back to square one (a.k.a the grocery store), looked for an alternative, and came home with a bottle of Looza mango juice drink. Sure, it’s from concentrate, but there was no high fructose corn syrup, no weird ingredients added…and it worked beautifully in these Mango Lassi Panna Cottas.

You might be wondering why I was trying so hard, why I cared so much about making a perfect panna cotta. I had good reason. This was my first month participating in the Daring Baker’s Blog Challenge and I wanted to make something creative and absolutely scrumptious. The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

If you’ve never tasted or never even heard of panna cotta, it’s an Italian dessert traditionally made of cream, gelatin and a flavoring of some sort. Imagine if custard and Jello had a baby, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what we’re dealing with here. Creamy and decadent, yet jiggly and playful, it’s a very fun combination of textures.

And if you’ve never had a mango lassi, it’s an Indian smoothie-like drink of yogurt, mango and honey that’s meant to soothe the tongue while eating spicy curries. I love the exotic brightness of the mango with the floral sweetness of the honey and the tartness of the yogurt. That combination is what makes mango lassis so wonderful, and what makes this panna cotta spectacular. It’s sophisticated and refined, but you can still slurp it up through a straw like a little kid.

Mango Lassi Panna Cotta

Β© Copyright 2011 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 oz (1 packet) powdered gelatin
  • 1 cardamom pod, split open to remove the seeds, or 12 seeds
  • 2 cups mango juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt, full fat or 2% (I used Fage 2%)

Directions:

  1. Pour the cold milk into a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. Let sit for 10 minutes for the gelatin to soften.
  2. Place the saucepan on the stove over medium heat, add the cardamom seeds, and heat until the milk is hot, but not boiling, whisking occasionally. Add the mango juice, lime juice, honey and salt and continue to heat, whisking occasionally, until hot but not boiling.
  3. Pour the mixture through a mesh sieve into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the yogurt. Divide the mixture into glasses or dishes of your choice (it’s fun to mix and match) and garnish with a straw (optional, but cute). Place in the refrigerate and allow to set 6 hours or overnight. Serve cold and enjoy!

Florentine cookies are tricky. They are a fragile, delicate creature. Luckily, they are buttery, crunchy, delicious ones as well. Don’t be discouraged if they spread into each other, crack when you pick them up or shatter completely. Just crumble them over your panna cotta for some awesome texture contrast. Besides, the panna cotta are the real star hear, in my opinion.

Spiced Almond Florentines

Β© Copyright 2011 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup (about 11 Tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line several baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients, except the white chocolate, and stir thoroughly to combine.
  3. Use a teaspoon (yes, teaspoons, trust me) to scoop the batter and place each scoop at least two inches apart from each other on all sides (they spread a lot!).
  4. Bake about 6-8 minutes until golden brown all over. Let cool on the pan about 3 minutes or so, then you can lift out the whole sheet of parchment and set it on a wire rack to cool completely. Do not even try to remove the cookies before they are completely cool, or they will just fall apart.
  5. After the cookies are cool, melt white chocolate in a double boiler on the stove and spread a thin layer on the bottom side of each cookie. Place on parchment or wax paper and let cool until the chocolate hardens.
  6. Since these cookies are so delicate, I think it’s best to crumble them up over the top of your panna cotta and enjoy them that way!

I had a lot of fun with my first time participating in the Daring Baker’s challenge. Check out the website to see my fellow bloggers’ creations. I can’t wait to see what next month’s challenge will be!

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2011 1:14 pm

    What a great idea. I had never heard of a Lassie until recently but was really impressed with the flavor and the white chocolate is perfect to go with it!

  2. February 27, 2011 1:30 pm

    Congrats on your first Daring Baker’s Challenge! They are always so much fun. Mango Lassi Panna Cotta sound fantastic. I love mango lassis. And strangely I had never had a panna cotta before this challenge. But now I know what I’ve been missing.

  3. February 27, 2011 1:58 pm

    Welcome to Daring Bakers! Your Panna Cotta looks great! Nice job on the challenge!

  4. Michelle permalink
    February 27, 2011 3:11 pm

    What a wonderfully creative take on your first challenge – you’re going to fit right in! πŸ™‚ Welcome!

  5. February 27, 2011 4:42 pm

    Congrats on your first Daring Bakers Challenge! I love your description of panna cotta as custard and jello’s baby.
    Mango is a great idea. The colour of your panna cotta is gorgeous!

  6. February 27, 2011 5:18 pm

    Welcome to Daring Bakers! I love the spices you added to the cookies–perfect with the panna cotta. The white chocolate with the cookies seems just right with mango. Love how this is low fat instead of so decadent. The mango and cardamom make this seem sophisticated, not dietetic. Great job!

    • February 27, 2011 6:38 pm

      I always try to make things a bit healthier when I can, and the Greek yogurt kept the creamy texture in this dessert. Glad you liked it!

  7. February 27, 2011 6:47 pm

    wow all your pics look so fantastic!!! clean and elegant. great job! I did a cheese-cake type panna cotta πŸ™‚
    ButtercreamBarbie -= you are so pretty by the way πŸ™‚

  8. February 27, 2011 6:48 pm

    Hey carly! Thanks for stopping over at my site, i just came over here and realised that you made the earl grey cupcakes i saw on here a while ago… Yum! Im totally going to try them and Im going to subscribe so I dont miss any of your other goodies! Nice work πŸ™‚

  9. February 27, 2011 7:52 pm

    Looks and sounds absolutely delicious! I LOVE mango lassis! So good! What a creative idea to put it into a panna cotta. Wonderful job on the challenge!

  10. February 27, 2011 11:58 pm

    Hello and welcome to the Daring Kitchen and congratulations on your first success challenge and I hope you have many happy experiences with us.

    Wow your picture is stunning you remind of Nigella Lawson but more beautiful.

    Your panna cotta and cookies lot so delicious I adore the idea of mango lassi yes I think you did the right thing about the mango drink it looks smashing. And the cookies are so thin and lavy.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  11. February 28, 2011 12:09 am

    Now why have I never thought of Mango Lassi Pannacotta? It looks just delicious. I hopped on to your blog from the Tea Challenge at Choclette’s blog, and its beautiful, you’re so talented!

    As for your mango issues, I have the same problem, so have you tried tinned mango pulp? It works much better than mango juice, and usually is just mango pulp, sugar and citric acid. You should be able to get it in any Asian stores. I made a classic lassi using this pulp and it was pretty good πŸ™‚

    Cheers, I am off to perv at your Earl Grey cupcakes πŸ™‚

    • February 28, 2011 9:05 am

      I’ll have to look for that tinned mango pulp and give it a try! Thanks for the suggestion!

  12. February 28, 2011 1:06 am

    I too made with mango flavour. I love your idea of mango lassi flavour. Looks gorgeous, you have done a great job in this challenge.

  13. February 28, 2011 7:09 am

    Looks great and sounds delicious! Great job on the challenge!

  14. February 28, 2011 7:30 pm

    Wow looks fabulous.. absolutely love it.. beautiful pictures.

    Pavithra
    http://www.dishesfrommykitchen.com

  15. March 1, 2011 12:40 am

    Welcome to the Daring Bakers – your mango lassi-panna cotta looks great. I love the photos. This would be great to do in the summer again when mangoes are easier to find in better quality.

  16. March 1, 2011 6:49 am

    Welcome to The Daring Bakers! You weren’t alone in your mango conundrum. I was a little embarrassed that I used canned mango puree, but I knew it would definitely be tastier than any mangoes I could purchase here in Minnesota : )

  17. March 1, 2011 6:24 pm

    Congrats on a first DB challenge beautifully and delciously done. Both your panna cotta and florentines are stunning, and the photos are simply perfection πŸ™‚

  18. March 2, 2011 11:30 pm

    Welcome to the DB community. As foar as I’m concerned you chose the best flavour for your panna cotta. πŸ™‚

  19. March 14, 2011 7:55 am

    What a great idea to make a Mango Lassi panna cotta! I love mango lassi!

  20. May 4, 2011 1:43 am

    I tried it out, and it got a bit grainy. I left away the lime juice on the second dry, it curdled up horrible.
    Is it really necessary to heat the whole thing?

    • May 5, 2011 2:33 pm

      I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you. No, I don’t think it’s necessary to heat the whole mixture. The key is to warm the milk to dissolve to gelatin, so if you wanted you could bloom the gelatin until it’s soft in the cool milk, then just warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove until the gelatin dissolves. The mixture shouldn’t boil or else you risk deactivating the gelatin. It’s also important not to add the gelatin mixture into a cold liquid or else it can clump, so here’s what I would try: heat the mango juice, lime juice, cardamom, honey and salt in a saucepan to just a simmer. Strain. Bloom the gelatin in the milk to soften, warm to dissolve, then add to the mango base. Whisk in the yogurt, put in your containers and chill. If you’re willing to give it another try, let me know if this works. I remember my first time working with gelatin…it was a disaster! Tricky stuff. Good luck!

  21. January 13, 2013 7:45 am

    Worked a treat loved by all. I had an idea about mango lassie panna cota yesterday, my friends werent sure about the idea, then i found your recipe and thoughts, which really backed up my ideas. I wanted to cut down the dairy content so i used rice milk instead of milk and replaced one of the cups for coconut milk for a bit more tropical hit. I still used a bit of yoghurt. Result was : perfect ! set great, tasted great but It didnt have the creaminess factor so i thought maybe i shouldnt call it panna cota ( im nit pickng here ), so i callled it PannaMangolassie, said quickly sounds kinda authentically asian. and went great as an accompaniment to my sisters summer pudding, following an outrageously amazing full on curry. Thanks luv. Simon Harris

  22. December 14, 2014 4:11 pm

    Can you tell me more about the mango juice that you used? Was it pure mango, unsweetened or did it have added sugar? Was it a common brand or did you make it yourself? Thanks, really looking forward to trying this!

    • February 19, 2015 1:17 pm

      So sorry I didn’t reply to this sooner! I used a bottled juice called “Loosa”.

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