Lychee Panna Cotta with Mango Gelee

I had a carton of cream in the fridge from the corn chowder that I needed to use up, a bowl of lychees I didn’t really want to eat, a mango I had forgotten about in the produce drawer, and a tiny bag of unflavored gelatin powder left over from the chocolate lacquer cake glaze.

So I decided to make a batch of panna cotta.

First I peeled all the lychees, about 15, (this recipe is infinitely easier with a can of lychees in syrup), cut the flesh away from the pits, and blended it with a few tablespoons of golden syrup and 1/4 cup water. This I mixed in a saucepan with 1 cup of cream (I was going to add 1/2 cup milk, but the carton had inexplicably spoiled after being open for one measly day!). I let this simmer for 15 minutes, in the mean time I poured 3/4 Tbs of gelatin into 1/4 cup water and let it bloom (stand for at least 5 minutes).

Strain all the solids out of the cream mixture, and discard. Remove from heat, mix the cream with about 2/3 of the gelatin until dissolved. Let it cool for 15 minutes, then pour into shot glasses/dessert cups/what have you. Chill in the fridge at least 3 hours.

I took the mango and cut it into small pieces, extracting all the juiciness from the pit, into a sauce pan. (You could probably blend it up, but my blender was still covered in chickpea mash). I mashed the fruit as best I could, added 1/3 cup water, a spoonful of sugar, and let it simmer, continuing to mash the mango, stirring to dissolve the sugar. After maybe 15 minutes, I strained the solids out, pressing as much liquid out of it as possible, and then added the mango liquids to the gelatin. Stir until completely dissolved, and let cool. This is important. If it’s too warm when you pour it over the panna cotta, the panna cotta will melt a little, and white clouds will rise up into the yellow gelee.

Lychee Panna Cotta with Mango Gelee

Spoon it over the panna cotta, and then let chill in the fridge. This looks especially impressive and elegant when served in a little shot glass or small water glass. It’s a fairly low effort dessert (compared to a layer cake or anything involving decorating with chocolate) and has infinite variations of flavor, whatever fruit or even vegetable you have kicking around the kitchen–I’ve even seen a recipe for a savory goat cheese panna cotta topped with cranberry jelly, which I am definitely going to make for Thanksgiving.


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