This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was a simple vanilla panna cotta served on top of a mango and lime purée. Panna cotta is one of those desserts that always looks/ sounds much harder than it actually is – in fact the only thing you really need to worry about is respecting the amount of gelatin (by measuring with a digital scale), however, I do find this is quite personal. Some people prefer their panna cotta on the firmer side, requiring more gelatin, others prefer a softer texture. The trick is to find a recipe that you like and stick to those proportions. I’ve made a few panna cottas in my time and they have all been different texture-wise.
The mango purée was as easy as can be (especially with a very ripe mango) – though I can see this recipe working with a variety of fruit purées or heck, even jam or compote dolloped on the bottom of the jar…
For this version, I used “vege gel” as I was making this with a vegetarian friend. I’ve used agar-agar in the past but not this version of a veggie gelatin so it was a bit of an experiment. Both Cathy and I decided that even if the “set” didn’t work, it would still taste delicious!
In fact, the vege-gel calls for heating the gel powder with the cold liquid and heating it up as opposed to a regular gelatin where you mix that powder with a little water then pour the warm liquid over the top to incorporate. Unfortunately I didn’t read that step properly and found myself attempting to pour the warmed-up liquid over the vege-gel that I had tried to “activate” in some warm water. Um, not so much. My mixture went a little lumpy (actually the gel started to set really quickly) and I had to strain it with a metal sieve to remove most of the lumps. As you can see from the photos, it’s still a little lumpy but hey, it actually tasted amazing…
When working with substitutes like agar-agar or this type of vegetarian gel, it is often necessary to adapt the amounts of liquid (the Dr Oetker website says: “Vege-Gel is a vegetarian alternative to gelatine and not a substitute. Therefore, it has to be used in a slightly different way to gelatine and it may be necessary to adapt your recipe, when using acidic liquids or vinegar, use two sachets for best results. When dissolving in fruit juice, heat to near boiling point and cool quickly to aid setting.”) so it’s no surprise that our panna cotta didn’t turn out optimally but it has got me curious about using substitutes in future (I have a strict vegetarian neighbour at home and things like gelatin always trip me up with her!). I hope Cathy will try these again with the leftover gel powder!
Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta here or on p 370 of Baking Chez Moi.
Tuesdays with Dorie participants don’t publish the recipes on our blogs, so you’re encouraged to purchase Baking Chez Moi for yourself which you can do on Amazon or Amazon Canada or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository. Then join us, baking our way through the book!
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