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Mango & Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Panna Cottas

Mango and Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Interesting how even past 30 years old I still want mommy when I spike a fever and walk around with a box of tissues. Wondering why I never catch a 24 hour bug or never lose my appetite when sick. Sad to see my parents leave after such good times. Amusing to see the dogs go back and forth between both bedrooms looking for them. Funny how little mishaps can turn into creamy deliciousness like these Mango And Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Panna Cottas.

The morning of my parents' departure, my father and I were up before anyone else as usual. We were reminiscing about the last few weeks spent together. We like to talk food while preparing meals. Surprise, surprise! When we were kids, my father taught us how to crack and juice a coconut, introduced us to the wonders of papaya simply sprinkled with lime juice, cooked the most fabulous Osso Bucco or rice pilaf. I guess he will be my other guest blogger when they come back!

This past Sunday morning, the conversation fell on the wonderful meal my dear friend Bina prepared the last time we visited her and her family. After taking me to the Indian market so I could stock up on my usual and new favorites, she also sent me home with a whopping big can of Alfonso mango puree. We were happily surprised to find out that it was the same kind we would scout at the exotic market when I was a kid. We kept dipping our spoons in the can while getting breakfast ready. I poured some of the puree in 4 glasses for everybody to have a taste and proceeded to make breakfast.

Mango&Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Panna Cotta

We decided to send them off with a hearty good old American breakfast and I decided to use the last bit of buttermilk I had to make pancakes. I went ahead and whisked buttermilk, vanilla bean seeds, sugar. I am not sure what exactly went array after that or when it did. Pressing needs of sleepy puppies, checking and re-checking and nothing had been left out of the suitcases, phone calls to and from relatives and friends,… I stood over the stove, poured some batter in the pan and turned around. Two minutes later, I heard "Aren’t pancakes similar to crepes?" …Hmmm…Yes they could be instead of the gunky burnt mess that was in the frying pan. I had forgotten the eggs and flour.

"Oh dear…I am losing my mind!"…I looked at my parents and pulled out the croissants and toasts. Not much time left to fix anything, finally get in the shower and leave for the airport. I could feel my dad travelling nerves getting sharper by the minute but I hated to waste a vanilla bean anything. Panna Cottas quickly came to mind. I bloomed some gelatin in water, froze everybody’s glass of pureed mango and heated up some cream and the vanilla infused buttermilk. Why freeze the fruit? I wanted clean layers for the fruit and panna cotta and once frozen you can easily pour your cream base without it falling straight to the bottom of the puree because of its heavier weight. It also quickens the setting process of the panna cottas but alas it was high time we left for the airport.

So here we are now, parents sound and safe in France and us with two extra Panna Cottas. I served them with little Swiss meringue cookies (same as in Floating Island but piped and baked on a sheetpan) and chopped pistachios. They are so good I wish I could share with you!

Note: I am aware of the pistachio recall here in the States and I am keeping up with the grower involved. Mine were from another farm but please check your stashes and sources.

Mango and Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Mango And Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Panna Cottas:

Serves 4

Kitchen Note: for the recipe I used one cup (250ml) of canned mango puree which I know is not available everywhere. According to the National Mango Board, you would need 2 medium sized mango to obtain one cup of puree. You can substitute with any soft fruit reduced to a puree like apricot, peach, pear, etc…

1 cup (250ml) mango puree
1 tablespoon (15gr) water
1 3/4 teaspoons (4gr) powdered gelatin
1 vanilla bean
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup (50gr) sugar
1 cup (250ml) whole buttermilk

Divide the mango puree evenly among 4 glasses or ramekins.
Place the water in a small ramekin and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it bloom while you prepare the cream.
On a flat surface, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise without cutting all the way through. With a pairing knife, scrape the seeds from the pods. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla bean seeds until the cream is just about to boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it is completely melted. Let cool for about 10 minutes and add the buttermilk. Let cool to room temperature. You can speed up the process by placing your saucepan over a bowl filled with ice but keep and eye on it as it will thicken faster. Once the cream is cooled, slowly pour it over the frozen fruit and let set in the fridge, at least two hours, preferably overnight.
Serve with chopped pistachios and meringue cookies if desired.

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virginie March 31, 2009 um 6:09 am

hummm que ca à l’air bon !!! j’adore la mangue !!!

Poorni Pillai March 31, 2009 um 6:22 am

Wow, they look so good! The mango season is slowly beginning here in India and pretty soon the markets will be flooded with dozens of varieties. I learn all the names each year and then forget them as the season ends….only to re-learn them again the next year. I’ll try your amazing recipe next month when the mangoes are best!

Nina Timm March 31, 2009 um 6:26 am

You really wanted so badly to make something so special…and so you did, just a tad too late! I am sure you parents had many such wonderful memorable meals in the time spent with you!!

Jen Yu March 31, 2009 um 6:41 am

Hello, Night Owl 🙂 What a nice surprise to read your post as I take a break from processing kitchen photos. I’m sleepy, but the sight of your beautiful panna cottas is like sunshine in the morning. I’m sorry that your parents have left, but I do hope that you all enjoyed one another’s company. That is what is important. Save the recipe for the next time you see them. The puppies must be sad to have two less sets of hands to pamper them. xxoo

Elyse March 31, 2009 um 6:50 am

I know you must miss your parents already. It sounded like such a great visit. And your dad sounds delightful–I love that the two of your talk food. And what a fabulous mishap!! These little panne cottas look fabulous. What delicate and gorgeous treats.

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul March 31, 2009 um 7:01 am

I’ve always believed the best culinary creations are borne out of accidents! How delicious and creamy these look Helen. Thanks for the tips regarding layering them…might have to try and dive them a Greek touch!

morgana March 31, 2009 um 7:16 am

Mmmmm. these must be delicious, I LOVE mango fruit, it’s one of my favorites.

Rosa's Yummy Yums March 31, 2009 um 7:16 am

What a delightful combination of flavors! So delicate and refined tasting… Beautiful!



Marilì from GustoShop March 31, 2009 um 7:19 am

Mmmmh… simply delicious…

Virginia March 31, 2009 um 9:10 am

Helen, in your blog I always find summer!

Finla March 31, 2009 um 9:40 am

Same here i always feel like this when i take leave from my mom too.
I am sure going to make this pannacotta soon as i love them.

Dee at Pedestrian Palate March 31, 2009 um 10:02 am

I’ve been looking for a pannacotta recipe and this looks beautiful (as always). I like your suggestion of using peaches if mango is not available. I will probably try that.

Kana March 31, 2009 um 10:37 am

I hope time flies and you will see them again before you know it.I have a question – I do not eat gelatin and was wondering if it can be substituted with the same amount of agar.

Cannelle Et Vanille March 31, 2009 um 10:56 am

i know your parents departure must have been bittersweet but you know how time flies and how you will see them again before a blink of an eye. This looks so fresh and love the Sabre spoons!

Culinary Wannabe March 31, 2009 um 11:04 am

What a happy accident! I’m glad your parents had such a wonderful visit. It’s funny how much we miss our parents. It’s always the worst right after they leave. Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures, by the way.

Mimmi March 31, 2009 um 11:13 am

I love it and thank you sooooooooooo much for writing the recipes not only using cups, but also grams and ml.!!

mycookinghut March 31, 2009 um 11:43 am

Just pretty as usual.. I like panna cotta

Aimée March 31, 2009 um 11:45 am

I hate goodbyes. Hope your feeling better soon, my dear.
These colors are so lovely, certainly you made the best of a bad situation.

bridget {bake at 350} March 31, 2009 um 12:08 pm

Hope you are feeling better! I never lose my appetite when sick, either! Why IS that?!?

Beautiful pictures as usual…and I love that little spoon! 🙂

LizNoVeggieGirl March 31, 2009 um 12:14 pm

Get well soon, dear Helen!!! **hugs**

On a brighter note, loooove the panna cottas!!

veron March 31, 2009 um 12:43 pm

Poor Tartelette …get well soon. but this is such a lovely dessert…I absolutely love mangoes in any shape or form. glad your parents are safely back in France…i’m sure you are already missing them a lot!

Dragana March 31, 2009 um 1:22 pm

Glad your parents are home safe and sound. Don’t you love it when you create something delicious by chance? These look refreshing – perfect for Spring!

Angela@spinachtiger March 31, 2009 um 1:42 pm

You are such a kitchen genius. Good to know you make mistakes too. Loved your story about your parents. I could almost start missing them. Beautiful photos as always.

Cookie baker Lynn March 31, 2009 um 2:48 pm

It must be so difficult with your heart straddling two continents. Does your beautiful panna cotta ease the pain of parting?

anna March 31, 2009 um 3:19 pm

Those look delicious! I love mango.

Bertha March 31, 2009 um 3:41 pm

My eyes were delighted when I saw "mango" in the title of your post. I absolutely adore everything mango-y. I used Alphonso mango all the time! it is so intense and very orange color. Thank you for sharing, it’s always a great pleasure to read your blog everyday and I hope you feel better soon 🙂

Paula March 31, 2009 um 3:42 pm

Wow, that just looks like summer. I hate it when plans go pear shaped and time is of the essence. Such a pain but it looks like these turned out beautifully – and more for you!

Unknown March 31, 2009 um 3:44 pm

I’m the same way with my parents… 🙂
as always, your desserts look delectable.

Deeba PAB March 31, 2009 um 4:05 pm

Creative genius you are, & a beautiful one at that! Cannot wait for mangoes to arrive Helen…then catch me freezing fruit puree. Thanks for the tip…

Dominique March 31, 2009 um 4:06 pm

Comment rester indifférent devant d’aussi jolies photos? je note la recette (merci Harrap’s)et je la refais dès que possible!

nadia March 31, 2009 um 4:24 pm

Gorgeous helen! The last photo is perfection!

Dave Jones March 31, 2009 um 5:13 pm

sounds delicious….snapshots looks cool…..i love mangoes.

Unknown March 31, 2009 um 6:08 pm

Oh wow, yum….. -e

Bea March 31, 2009 um 6:23 pm

I love Panna Cotta! These sound perfect 🙂

Barb March 31, 2009 um 6:31 pm

I have a package of Goya Mango Puree in the freezer I got at the completely normal supermarket–not a Puerto Rican market or specialty store. I think it cost about $1.25 and since it’s a national brand, you should be able to find it somewhere near you in the USA. Admittedly it’s not very thick, I used one making a mango creme brulee. Might want to reduce it first.

Mallory Elise March 31, 2009 um 6:37 pm

wow. i wish i was a member of the national mango board. now that i know one exists. hehe.

those are the most perfectly perfect shaped meringues. chouette!

Helene March 31, 2009 um 7:04 pm

Caprice: I think there is a slight misunderstanding. I was not pushing readers to find this particular kin of mango puree. It was a gift from a friend and I wanted to put it to good use. Fresh mango or regular grocery store puree work just as good in the recipe. Alfonso mangoes are just particularly orange and flavorful.

zaida March 31, 2009 um 7:40 pm

it seems like your parents have left a big amount of light and colours with you.

beautiful and yummy photos.

Snooky doodle March 31, 2009 um 7:53 pm

wonderful! the flavours must be amazing 🙂

Mermaid Sews March 31, 2009 um 8:14 pm

Mango puree you say? Must go get me some pronto. Gorgeous photos.

tara March 31, 2009 um 8:21 pm

You are ridiculously brilliant, m’dear! These are the most lovely of mistakes.

I do hope you are feeling better, and that your parents return journey home was a safe one.

Angry Brit March 31, 2009 um 8:27 pm

What beautiful colours! It manages to look very summery. I can’t claim a huge love of mangoes (a minor accident when making sorbet once), but I would be more than willing to try them again.

Ash March 31, 2009 um 9:55 pm

Love the colours! These look fantastic and yummy too!

Irene March 31, 2009 um 10:34 pm

Gorgeous as usual! I hope you are feeling better soon!

lynda April 1, 2009 um 1:02 am

Too bad about the pancakes, but I’d say you more than made up for it with these luscious little treats. I am glad you enjoyed such a wonderful visit with your parents. Good-byes are so not fun.

Joyce April 1, 2009 um 1:09 am

Helen I bet it was hard to say good bye to your parents today.
I got a little misty eye reading how your dad taught you how to crack and juice a coconut. This is one of my many fond memories growing up with my dad. With spring around the corner I am missing him so… Thanks for the sweet memories. xoxo

anadelicias April 1, 2009 um 4:45 am

Lovely anddeliciosu!! This pannacotta looks son nice, Helen!!
Mango is one of my favorites fruits.


unconfidential cook April 1, 2009 um 4:54 am

Do you also talk about food while you’re eating? Our conversations before, during and after a meal often end up being about more food….Your panna cottas look beautiful!

Patricia Scarpin April 1, 2009 um 3:30 pm

Oh, what a wonderful solution you found to the problem, sweetie! I’m sure mom and dad loved this panna cotta – mango has such a tropical feel, kind of Brazilian even!

Lori April 1, 2009 um 3:36 pm

So I am not the only one who eats when I am sick (headcold that is). I thought it was just me.

It just so happens that I have some mango puree in the freezer. I think this needs to come to my house. I must try it. I have been wanting to make panna cotta for forever. Thank you for the great idea. That was good sharing!

Anonymous April 1, 2009 um 3:42 pm

I’ve been dreaming about this Panna Cotta for a little while now… yum!
Too bad pistachios are recalled. Your last two posts have made me *really* crave them!

Helene April 1, 2009 um 4:00 pm

I am aware of the pistachio recall here in the States and I am keeping up with the grower involved. Mine were from another farm but please check your stashes and sources.

Thank you everyone!

Hayley April 1, 2009 um 5:16 pm

This sounds wonderful, and so refreshing! After I made my uncle a flan, he requested panna cotta next. Thanks for the recipe!

Cakebrain April 1, 2009 um 8:01 pm

Your panna cottas are beautiful! I love the colours in your pics too…makes me think of spring

cindy* April 2, 2009 um 12:53 am

these look so good…i have had those days (so, so many), but luckily for you (and B!) your mishap turned to good fortune! i’ve been eating fresh mangos all week, they have been cropping up at the store and i cannot resist. lovely!

baked in alaska April 2, 2009 um 1:45 am

Yum mangos! I am truly envious of your ability to think so quickly on your feet. So fortunate for your family.

ladyironchef April 2, 2009 um 3:32 am

wow! ever since i tried vanilla bean ice cream, i can’t eat the normal vanilla anymore. heh. mango sounds great together 🙂

Christy April 2, 2009 um 4:58 am

Pistachio recall??!!What are those about?? They were bad or contain toxin of sorts?

I was surprised that your father taught you to eat a papaya drizzled with lime juice, but only because that’s the way we eat it in the tropics too!! Well I thought only we knew about that little secret…And I didn’t even know how to crack and juice a coconut and I’m from Indonesia!!

Love the idea of freezing the puree and the glass first before putting in the pannacotta! It’s one I’m going to archive in my brains for future reference.

Anita April 2, 2009 um 5:35 am

I’m glad the mix didn’t go to waste – you are very talented!

jb April 2, 2009 um 5:39 am

These look so good! I love the colors, especially!

Marc @ NoRecipes April 2, 2009 um 6:09 am

Helen, I learn something new every time I visit! The tip about freezing the fruit is great. I’ve always been relegated to putting the fruit on top. But no longer!

Peabody April 2, 2009 um 6:56 am

I still always want my mommy when I am sick too.
These look gorgeous.

Jamie April 2, 2009 um 7:01 am

Beautiful and perfect AND panna cotta is my man’s favorite dessert of all times. I love having my mommy around, too and am sad when she is not here (which is almost always!).

Juliana April 2, 2009 um 3:16 pm

Such a perfect dessert! I love panna cotta…and mangoes. The pictures are so pretty! Thanks!

Abby April 2, 2009 um 4:13 pm

I’m not going to read through the comments, but I imagine I’m not the only one to say, "I covet that spoon."

As always – gorgeous!

Philo aux fourneaux – Blog culinaire April 2, 2009 um 9:07 pm

La mangue étant mon fruit préféré, je te laisse deviner que je craque complétement pour cette belle recette si joliment illustrée

sharon budijono April 3, 2009 um 4:33 am

love love love your blog and the photos as well! always awesome!!! keep up and good (and sweet) work!

dessert girl April 3, 2009 um 1:10 pm

How do you get the layers to look so perfect! Is there a trick to it?

Love the spoon!

Maybe April 3, 2009 um 2:56 pm

Love the posts about your parents and childhood ! Believe it or not, I never made or even ate a pannacotta… But thanks to you, I think it’s gonna change :o)

Simones Kitchen April 3, 2009 um 3:42 pm

They look fantastic. I totally love pannacotta and ever since making my first one I got hooked. Great tip too on the layering!

Jaime April 6, 2009 um 12:53 am

love mango. i think my mom would enjoy this! beautiful plating, as always

Peabody April 6, 2009 um 1:50 am

Beautiful as always. Your layering is gorgeous.

Sunshinemom April 6, 2009 um 8:14 am

We have been eating alphonsos everyday since the past few weeks, and my kids just won’t allow me to use in tarts or custards or even ice creams!! I will try these when my parents come here next week – they are a little finicky about cream and things, but I guess they will like these!

Why does good time pass just fly?? I know how the first two days must have felt when your parents went – you feel like a little home alone kid for sometime!!

ChichaJo April 7, 2009 um 12:55 pm

What a lovely visit you and your parents had!

This looks fabulous! Something new and delicious to do with our mangoes! 🙂

test it comm April 8, 2009 um 2:30 am

Nice way to enjoy some mangoes! Great photos!

Anonymous April 8, 2009 um 7:08 am

If that does not scream Spring, then I don’t know what does!!

Wonderful story and pictures!


Alexandra and Jando April 12, 2009 um 6:05 pm

My 3y old son and I just LOVE your meringue kisses! He wants to make them too! What piping tip did you use to make such gorgeous creations? (I feel the need to challenge myself…)

Helene April 13, 2009 um 6:29 am

Alexandra: I used a basic star tip. Mine don’t have a number (restaurant supplies) but I am sure that a medium star tip will do.

Michelle April 13, 2009 um 8:26 pm

OMG your pictures are always amazing, I can’t stop drooling!

Poires au Chocolat April 17, 2009 um 12:51 pm

I’ve linked to this post in my last post about some strawberry and chocolate panna cotta shots I made, as it inspired me to use panna cotta instead of the custard I had planned… hope that’s okay!

Anonymous October 3, 2009 um 7:51 pm


I am a vegetarian, please can you suggest an alternative to gelatin in this recipe. I tried to use agar flakes but it did not set, otherwise it tasted delicious

Many THanks

Helene October 3, 2009 um 8:02 pm

Anonymous: maybe use vegetarian gelatine which is usually available in the kosher section. You could also increase the agar agar maybe? Not familiar with it though.

Evelyn March 2, 2011 um 1:55 am

Loved reading about your family and seeing your panna cotta. I wish I had known because I would have loved to help you eat those last two desserts! 🙂

Pooja June 1, 2013 um 7:27 am

I stumbled upon your wonderful blog while looking for Verrines & boy! am I glad I did! I know I'll keep coming back now.

A question….perhaps silly. Won't the frozen fruit start melting once I transfer it to the fridge with the pannacotta on top? I have all the ingredients & raring to go….

Helene June 1, 2013 um 3:02 pm

Pooja: it will become soft but it won't go anywhere since the panna cotta is on top and acts as a lid.

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