Eggnog Panna Cotta with Mango Coulis
Special shout out to the National Mango Board for sponsoring this post and helping keep this site/me moving/shaking/twisting.
One of my favorite things about working with the National Mango Board this year was learning about all the varieties of mangos and how they’re available year-round thanks to staggered growing seasons.
This was a sigh of relief for me too when I realized I could incorporate them into holiday recipes. It’s already been fun experimenting with new ways to leverage their sweet, tropical taste when pairing with traditional Christmas flavors and menus, so it was a relief knowing I’d have a few varieties available in-stores to choose from.
Now, I know you’re probably thinking:
“Eggnog and mango? Are you okay?!”
The answer is yes, yes I am okay, thank you for asking.
It’s a weird combo, I’ll admit I was a little skeptical when I first thought of it, but the flavor profile of the mango with the fruitiness of the nutmeg pair so so well together and it’s a welcome detour from the super sweet flavors that usually adorn the dessert table.
Panna cotta is also one of the easiest things to make. A lot of recipes will usually have you heat everything up and add the gelatin to that, but for me I shortcut it by only heating up a little of the liquid to melt the gelatin. This makes it easier to work with and make sure the gelatin has actually all dissolved and it helps it set much faster because you’re adding a little hot milk to double the amount of cold eggnog. It comes together in 15 minutes, you can pour it into some cute glasses like I’ve got here, or little bowls. You could even make one giant one in a baking dish and just scoop it out to serve. Not as pretty but equally delicious.
For the mango portion, it’s a simple way to enjoy the fruit in a dessert: a coulis.
A coulis is just a slightly juiced up sweetened fruit puree. Most fruit purees are too thick for things like this, you’d just have lumps and bumps and you’d have to work on really spreading it out carefully. A coulis adds some water and sugar, if necessary, to make a puree that’s extra smooth when strained, and loose enough to cover something like this perfectly.
Added bonus? Saying something is a coulis is a good way to make people think you either a) know how to speak French or b) really know what you’re talking about when it comes to desserts.
Either one is fine with me.
Eggnog Panna Cotta with Mango Coulis
For the panna cotta:
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon gelatin
pinch of salt
2 cups full fat eggnog
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the mango coulis:
2 ripe mangos
sugar to taste
whipped cream for serving (optional)
To make the panna cotta, add the whole milk to a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and let it bloom and soften for about 5 minutes.
While this is happening, measure out the eggnog into a large measuring cup (a 4 cup measuring cup is perfect if you have)
Turn the heat to medium, whisk the gelatin into the milk and add the pinch of salt. Whisk very frequently to make sure none of the gelatin burns or sticks and it dissolves evenly. Once the milk is hot, just to a scald no simmer necessary, tilt the pan gently to make sure there’s no gelatin left on the bottom of the saucepan then add the mixture to the measuring cup with the eggnog.
Whisk it all together then add the vanilla bean paste and whisk just until combined.
Pour the panna cotta into the glasses you’re serving them in, making sure you leave about an inch of space at the top for the coulis, then carefully transfer the panna cotta to set completely. Since we didn’t heat it all up this should take about an hour to an hour and a half to fully set.
While the panna cotta sets, make the coulis.
Remove the flesh off the mangos. I cut off the cheeks of the mango from the seed, scoop out the flesh, then cut off the slim sides remaining and scoop the flesh out of there. Then use a spoon to scrape off any other fruit that I can from the pit. Add the water and blend until smooth. Taste for sugar (my mangos were sweet enough that I didn’t have to add any but it’s all a preference, just add sugar a teaspoon at a time) then run the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to catch any chunks of fruit and pulp. Cover and place into the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
When you’re ready to serve, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the coulis onto the panna cotta and top with whipped cream. If you want a really smooth coulis surface, try gently jiggling the glass a couple of times after you add it to let gravity do its work.