24 July, 2013

Mango Panna Cotta Recipe | How to Make Panna Cotta

How to make Mango Panna Cotta ~ Italian dessert of layered cream flavoured with vanilla and a Desi twist of mango flavoured with cardamoms 

She looked at pregnancy test kit in her hands again to make sure what she was seeing was true! There they were two pink lines as clear as they could be! 
She came running out of the bathroom screaming at top of her voice, “We really are pregnant! The nurse was right. We really are pregnant!” 
 “Of course she is right”, husband said with big smile on his face. 
“What are we going to do? We don’t know anything about babies!” wife said with worry lines etched on her face. 
“Well, we will figure out”, husband tried to reassure her. 

And figuring out is what we are still doing after 3 years!!! ;)
Creamy and melt in mouth delight ~ Mango Panna Cotta 

One thing with a little kid is every day is a new day with new things and new adventures! If it was battle zone with animals from Jurassic era fighting to survive on yesterday, it is a peaceful day with lots of cuddles and kisses given freely today. Tomorrow may be the day spent reading books after another and day after tomorrow is the day to paint the world with bright, rainbow colours! There is not a single day that is same. Every day is unique and special with his antics and that’s what makes our life so enriching. Every day is a new discovery, day full of surprises and adventures! 

Mango Panna Cotta ~ Italian dessert with Indian twist 

When I was pregnant with Lil Dumpling I went through the most horrible morning sickness throughout the day and it lasted all through my pregnant days. There weren’t much of those pregnancy cravings and most of my favourite foods were out of my reach due to severe heartburns. I was fine with not stuffing my mouth with deep fried food and even my most favourite spicy Indian pickles. But it was a real shock when the months of summer arrived and my most favourite fruits of the season came along! Mangoes, the golden Indian summer bounty oozing with sweet juices! The sweet heavenly nectar that dribbles down from your arms when you sink your teeth deep into the juicy flesh and makes you forget everyone and everything! Ahhh... Bliss! 

Mango Panna Cotta 

The very same fruit I wait eagerly all through the year and the only thing that makes the blistering heat of summer sun bearable was rejected by very pregnant body!!! One small piece of this gorgeous fruit in my mouth and I spent rest of my day sprawled on the bathroom floor with toilet seat for the company! Not a very pleasing image to picturise, especially in a food blog, but that was the sad case! When Lil Dumpling started eating solids, I tried to feed him pureed mango pulp with a hope that he will fall in love with the same fruit which both his parents adore! To our shock, he showed his rejection very dramatically by spitting it on our face and giving us that toothless smile! We were heartbroken! But we were still hopeful that he will start to enjoy this king of fruit in the next mango season... 

Light and silky textured ~ Mango Panna Cotta 

Lil Dumpling turned another year old, but the golden fruits were still in his least favourite food list. While we half-heartedly indulged the nature’s best bounty, Lil Dumpling chomped on the banana slices and apple wedges. The thought that he was missing the best fruit kept me away from completely enjoying my most favourite fruits. I tried to feed him mangoes in different avatars from cutting them to different fun shapes to juicing them to even adding them to his favourite ice cream tub! But nothing worked! 

Party pleaser ~ Mango Panna Cotta 

So this year when the mangoes arrived in the market, we were least hopeful about Lil Dumpling starting to eat even the single golden slice! So last month when DH added few pieces of season’s first mango in his fruit bowl, we expected to find them either on his tray or littered on the floor! But we were pleasantly surprised to see only half of the mango left in his bowl! We were happy... No, not just happy but ecstatic! From eating just few pieces of mangoes on that day, today Lil Dumpling happily polishes off one full mango without much persuasion or cajoling from us! Who would have thought before Lil Dumpling came in our life, little things like this can bring so much joy to us!!! Well, not me for sure! :) 

Mango Panna Cotta 

So to celebrate his 3rd birthday as well as enjoy the mango season to the fullest, I decided to add a mango dessert to his special birthday party menu. After little bit of thinking and discussing with my partner, we zeroed on creamy and delightful Mango Panna Cotta
Panna cotta (from Italian cooked cream) is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. It is generally from the Northern Italian region of Piedmont, although it is eaten all over Italy, where it is served with wild berries, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit coulis. It is not known exactly how or when this dessert came to be, but some theories suggest that cream, for which mountainous Northern Italy is famous, was historically eaten plain or sweetened with fruit or hazelnuts. Earlier recipes for the dish did not directly mention gelatin, but instead included a step in which fish bones were boiled; this is now known to extract collagen from the bones, which turns to gelatin. Sugar, later a main ingredient, would not have been widely available as it was an expensive imported commodity. After years this treat evolved into what is now a gelatin dessert, flavoured with vanilla and topped with fruit or spices, and served chilled. 
(Source: Wiki)
Light, creamy and delicious ~ Mango Panna Cotta 

I decided to give it a Indian twist by making a mango layer flavoured with aromatic green cardamoms. The golden mangoes were the perfect touch for everything that summer represent; bright, sunny and beautiful! The top cream layer is laced with vanilla and i made it a point to make it not overly sweet so that the taste of vanilla gets lost with sugar overload! I made it a vegetarian version by using Agar Agar in place of gelatine. The success of this Mango Panna Cotta lies in its texture. It shouldn’t be too firm or too smooth but have custard like creamy texture and should easily melt in your mouth. :) When you gently tap on them, they should wobble like a set jelly. So it is necessary not to add too much or too little agar agar. 2 tbsp of agar agar strands which I used in my recipe worked just right for me.

Mango Panna Cotta Recipe 

This recipe for Mango Panna Cotta is inspired by the very talented and a good blogger friend Sailu’s blog called Sailu’s Kitchen. Instead of making just mango coulis as in her original recipe, I made mango jellies by adding agar agar to the mango mixture. The end result is one of the smooth, silky, melt in mouth Mango Panna Cotta that won many hearts in the party. A hint of sourness from lime juice in the mango layer made it all the more wonderful. I served them in a small 220 gms glass jars which actually were baby food jars I saved long ago and they were perfect individual portions as I also had other dessert, a very rich Carrot Payasa/Kheer to serve along with the very rich chocolate birthday cake. Follow the recipe to T and you will find this recipe for Mango Panna Cotta to be ridiculously simple to make. You can even make them 2-3 days in advance if you are cooking for a large number of people and keep them refrigerated till you are ready to serve. This very delicious and light Mango Panna Cotta is party pleaser and sure to win many praises for its looks, taste and flavours!

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Mangoes for Mango Panna Cotta 

Mango puree for Mango Panna Cotta 

Ingredients for Vanilla Cream Layer 

Ingredients for Mango Layer 

Agar Agar strands for mango Panna Cotta 

Agar Agar strands soaked in hot water 

Mango Panna Cotta

Mango Panna Cotta (Italian dessert of layered cream flavoured with vanilla and a Desi twist of mango flavoured with cardamoms) 
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Resting Time: 4-6 hours or overnight
Recipe Level: Intermediate
Spice Level: N/A
Makes: Around 4-5 pots of 200 ml glass jar
Recipe Inspiration: Sailu’s Kitchen 
Shelf Life: 4-5 days in refrigerator
Serving Suggestion: As a dessert

For Cream Layer: 
1½ cups Cream (I have used full fat double cream)
¾ cup Milk (I have used semi skimmed milk)
½ - ¾ cup Sugar (As per taste)
Seeds from 1 pod of Vanilla or 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
2 - 2½ tbsp Agar Agar strands or 2 tsp Agar Agar Powder

For Mango Layer: 
2 cups Mango Pulp, fresh or canned
 ½ tbsp Fresh Lime Juice (Optional)
2-4 tbsp Sugar (As per taste)
2 tbsp Agar Agar strands or 2 tsp Agar Agar Powder
4-5 Green Cardamoms 
Mango Panna Cotta 

  1. First, start with the preparation for the Mango Panna Cotta by soaking agar agar in a bowl of hot water (about ¾ cup of water) for couple of minutes. 
  2. Slit the vanilla pod in the center and scrpae out the seeds. Keep it aside until needed. 
  3. Crush the cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Crush it to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar and keep it aside until needed. 
  4. While the agar agar is soaking, prepare the serving bowls by lightly greasing them if you plan to de-mould them. Since I used the small glass jar, I simply skipped this step. 
  5. Depending on which layer you want to make, cream or mango layer, proceed with the following steps. 
For Cream Layer: 
  1. In a pan, add whole milk and cream and bring them to a boil on low flame. Mix in the sugar and let it simmer till the sugar dissolves completely. Switch off the gas and keep it aside to cool. 
  2. While the sugar is dissolving, prepare the agar agar. In a small pan, add the agar agar mixture along with the water in which it is soaked. Place this bowl on a low flame and stir it continuously till the agar agar completely dissolves and becomes a clear mixture without any lumps. Switch off the gas and keep it aside until needed. 
  3. Next test cream and milk mixture with your fingers to see if the sugar has been completely dissolved or not. If there is any sugar lumps, the panna cotta will not have smooth silky texture. So make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved. 
  4. The temperature of both agar agar mixture and the cream mixture should be same, luke warm. If the milk and cream mixture is still hot, place the pan in a bowl of iced water and whisk till it becomes luke warm. 
  5. Now add the agar agar mixture along with the vanilla seeds and whisk them well. Pour this cream mixture in a serving bowls or glasses or jars till they are filled half way. 
  6. Cover their mouth with a cling film or if using glass jars like me, just close them with the lid. Pop them in refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours to set. 
 For the Mango Layer: 
  1. Similar to the cream layer above, first soak agar agar in a bowl of hot water for couple of minutes. 
  2. While the agar agar is soaking, prepare the mango puree. You can grind the mango pulp to smooth puree or use canned mango puree for this recipe. Take this mango puree in a pan and bring it to gentle boil on a low flame. Add sugar as per your taste and simmer till the sugar is completely dissolved. Switch off the flame and mix in fresh lime juice if using. 
  3. While the mango puree is cooling, prepare the agar agar mixture as above. Make sure that the agar agar is completely dissolved and there are no lumps left. 
  4. Same as the above, test if the sugar is completely dissolved and bring the temperature down to luke warm over an ice bath. Mix in agar agar mixture and cardamom powder and whisk them well. 
  5. Take out the set cream layer, and pour in the mango layer. Put back the cling film or tighten the lid and pop them back in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight to set well. 
  6. Next day serve this delicious and silky smooth Mango Panna Cotta and enjoy this creamy goodness! 

Mango Panna Cotta ~ Italian dessert of layered cream flavoured with vanilla and a Desi twist of mango flavoured with cardamoms

Sia’s Notes: 
  • The success of this Mango Panna Cotta lies in its texture. It shouldn’t be too firm or too smooth but have custard like creamy texture. So it is necessary not to add too much or too little agar agar. 2 tbsp of agar agar strands which I used in my recipe worked just right for me. 
  • Make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved in cream and mango mixture so that the panna cotta has smooth creamy texture without any lumps. 
  • The temperature of both agar agar mixture and the cream mixture should be same when mixing, that is luke warm. If the milk and cream mixture is still hot, place the pan in a bowl of iced water and whisk till it becomes luke warm. 
  • You can use ramekins, shot glasses, small dessert bowls, or glass jars to serve this Mango Panna Cotta. If you want to de-mould the panna cotta in to a dessert plate, make sure that you grease them lightly before you pour in the cream and mango mixture. To de-mould, dip the bowls in a bowl of hot water for couple of seconds as it will help in loosening the sides.
  • To get the 'angle' effect, place the jars in a muffin trays or egg trays and pour the mango or cream mixture. Close the lid or cover them with cling film and place the tray in fridge. Tilt the jars little and let them set.


  1. Heavenly! That is the kind of dessert I crave when it's scorching hot outside.



  2. Lovely Glasses excellent lighting ! i am truly in love with your photography !

  3. Delicious Sia!! I wish I could dig in into a bottle or two :)

  4. Delicious!!!!!!!!!! Tempting.......Good one.

  5. Hi Sia, love the pannacotta. Lovely clicks.

  6. deadly delicious

  7. Hi Sia, Had a question. We get 10gm packets of Agar agar at the local grocery store here in bangalore. So do I just use half and half of that for each layer?

  8. Those cute little jars look absolutely delicious. What an awesome idea for using mangoes and I'm totally in love with those cute little baby food bottles. I should start saving my daughters jars now :-)

  9. @Surya Sam, are they in flakes or powdered form? If powdered one then you will need to use 10 gms for one layer as 10 gms = 2 tsp according to online conversion table.

  10. summery it looks and refreshing too - thanks for sharing the recipe and a glimpse of your life sia :)

  11. what a visual treat your pictures are. love this post!

  12. yummy dessert that i crave for after dinner...nice pics

  13. Hi Sia,
    Just wonderful...you make things look so wonderful and lovely...the colour combination, angles, effects, clarity is just too good. I loved your photographs.....I am inspired to try this mango pannacotta and will let you know how I did...I myself love and adore this fruit in all avatars....it was great going thru your site and recipes...
    Happy Cooking!!!

  14. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing this vegetarian version!

  15. Such a sweet write up with a perfect dessert.

  16. Sia, I could not get agar agar..can I use gelatin instead? What would be the proportion for gelatin? Please suggest.


  17. Sia, I could not find agar agar powder...I instead got gelatin ..what would be the proportion for gelatin ? Please suggest.


    1. You will need to use around 1 1/4 tsp of gelatin instead of 2 tsp agar agar powder. Also you'll need to soak gelatin in cold water to bloom unlike in hot water for agar agar. Hope it helps!

  18. These look too divine ! Wish I could get my hands on jar now !

    Kajal - Aapplemint

  19. Hi Sia, Great recipe and amazing pics.... I just have one question. How did you manage to set them in a slanting position in some of the jars?


  20. I really admire your writing and all your photographs Sia.Please keep up the good work !!

  21. @Remya Sushanth, thank you! i have already mentioned how I got that slanting or angled look. Please read the notes at the end.

  22. Thank you Sia. I was so impatient to know how you got that look that i missed out on reading the notes :)

  23. i came to this page to pin a pic.. (a pic.. what was i thinking)... i think i am going to pin all.. lovely lovely pics... super awesome.. that mango puree pic realy made me want to lick that excess off!!!wonderful use of bottles and what lovely colours.... its a pleasure even to see such pics...

  24. @Renu navin, thank you for such generous words :) And welcome to Monsoon Spice!

  25. Sia....OMG...Love the colors of the Mango Panna Cotta....The Mango Puree pic wants me to lick that falling drop. My little boy(some days younger to Little Dumpling) had the same reaction to mangoes. But eventually before turning three, he showed some interest in this seasonal fruit :)

  26. Hi excellent recipe, I reblogged it with some modifications , beautiful pics

  27. Hi Sia, oooh this looks soo amazingly delicious. I want to make it but I can't use sugar, can I use honey instead? Also I have a milk allergy, can I use coconut milk?

    1. I have never used the ingredient substitutes you have mentioned, honey and coconut milk. So I am afraid that I will not be able to answer to your query. Sorry for that!


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