Mango & Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta

DSC_0070 - CopyIf you haven’t seen this video by Katie Quinn (qkatie) on how to peel a mango in 3 seconds, then stop what you’re doing this instant and go watch it. Seriously, this is so clever, you’ve just got to see this right now (well, maybe after you’ve finished reading this post and decided to make this delicious creamy & fruity dessert!). How did I not know this trick? I’m telling you, it will make prepping mangoes a cinch. Especially if you love mangoes like I do, but hate all the mess & fuss in peeling them. Curious?
You couldn’t wait to watch it- am I right? Ok, so now that you’ve seen the mango-magic video, what shall we do with two perfectly round cheeks and spears of juicy sweetness? I say we make an easy & tasty Mango and Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta. It’s another simple, make-ahead dessert that would be ideal for Easter brunch….or for any fancy dinner party really. The ingredients list isn’t too long,  and the presentation is sure to impress.

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A traditional Panna Cotta (Italian for “cooked cream”) is a specialty thought to have originated in the Piedmont region in Northern Italy. It’s traditionally made by blending thick cream, egg white and honey. The blend is then baked in a water bath in a low oven. However—-we’re going to make an ultra-simple, no-bake version that’s much faster and easier. It’s just as creamy as the original, and the tang from the Greek yogurt nicely off-sets the sweetness from the honey. Find yourself some pretty little dessert cups, glasses, small bowls…whatever you have that you can layer the ingredients into. These are rich, so you won’t need a huge vessel.

Mango and Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta
yields 4 – 4ounce portions |  printable version

For Panna Cotta:
2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey (use the good stuff)
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (my favorite is FAGE 0% Fat)

Put the gelatin and water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Set aside. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat warm the cream, sugar, and honey. Do not boil, just warm until sugar and honey have dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in moistened gelatin until completely absorbed. Allow to cool slightly. Whisk in yogurt gently. At first the mixture may appear to be separating, but no worries, it’s not. Just keep whisking gently until you get a smooth custard-like texture. Pour into serving vessels, filling about 1/2 to 3/4  up the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set.

For Mango Gelée:
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons water
1 cup mango puree (1-2 mangoes, depending on size)
1-2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)

Put the gelatin and water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Set aside. Peel mango (using the cool qkatie method) and put into small bowl of food processor. You want the equivalent of one cup of pulp. Process to a fine-course texture. Careful not to over-process and create a juice. Put processed pulp and sugar into a small saucepan and warm through. Taste the mangoes to determine how much sugar you’ll need. Keep in mind the panna cotta is  sweet, so you’ll want this gelée to be slightly tart to balance the flavors. Add in dissolved gelatin and stir to incorporate. Allow mango gelée to cool slightly and spoon over top of panna cotta. Place back in refrigerator, covered, for 1-2 hours to allow both to fully set. Serve with Meyer Lemon Biscotti or any other cookie of your choice!

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Note: if you want to substitute the mango, you could use papaya, passion fruit (omg, yum!), golden kiwi fruit (done it; tastes amazing), or summer berries (go for it). If using berries, just be sure to strain the pulp to remove all seeds.

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