This dessert came to me from a snack that I came across years ago.
I was taking a trip to New York City. The communicative car horns, hoards of pushy people and smoky air welcomed me home. Where life moved at a pace that reminded me of how southern I became. People made moves with intention and a destination in mind. Here in the south, we take life in and enjoy the little things. Both are great as long as happiness can be found.
Needless to say, I went to Chinatown. In a hunt for exotic junk food, I stumbled on dried mangoes laced with chili powder. I was intrigued and would have gotten it if it hadn’t have expired months prior. No matter, I’ll just get it the next time I come across it. It has been years and my path has not crossed with this odd snack. I have tried this combination and…the results can be found in my “Fail” gallery.
This time I got it right! Truthfully, this Panna Cotta is delicious without the heat but the spiciness adds a touch of interest and color. Like a troubled relationship…this dish hits you with a little bit of pain then gently caresses your tongue with smooth sweetness. Before you know it, you are going back in for another bite. I will get a lot of hate for that comparison but I really couldn’t find another way of explaining it.
On the topic of relationships. Coconut and mango have a great track record but like all relationships…a little bit of heat is needed every now and then to “spice” things up! Spicy Coconut Mango Panna Cotta can be your key to “spice” up your relationship! If you are not in a relationship…then even better! More for you!
Over medium heat, simmer the mangoes, water, salt, lemon juice and sugar until the mangoes break apart easily. Remove from heat when ready.
Allow the mixture to cool down a bit (10-20 minutes) and then transfer to a blender. Add in the coconut milk.
Blend until smooth. See notes for adjustments.
Optional but highly suggested: strain the mixture for a smooth texture. This will remove the fibrous bits. Place this in the fridge until it is cold.
Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over 2 tbsp of milk. Cut the vanilla pod in half (lengthwise) and scrape out the seeds.
Prepare an ice bath that your pot will fit in.
Throw your vanilla pod, seeds, cream, milk and sugar into a pot. Over medium heat, bring this mixture to a gentle simmer (this will take 5-7 minutes). Make sure to not boil this, milk burns easily.
When you see little bubbles, bring the heat down to low and mix in your gelatin.
When the gelatin has dissolved and the mixture is completely smooth, remove the vanilla pod and place your pot into the ice bath. Leave your mixture in the ice bath until it reaches room temp (5 minutes).
Pour your mixture into whatever serving containers you have. Be sure to grease the containers if you want to serve these unmolded. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 6 hours but preferably overnight.
Run a knife or toothpick along the side of the Panna Cotta and place the container in hot tap water for 15-20 seconds. Invert the dessert onto a plate. Garnish and serve.
The Panna Cotta recipe base is adapted from Russ Parsons' recipe here. He wrote an amazing article that breaks this dessert down.