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.
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 Cottas:
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.