For me this should really be called vanilla-papaya panna cotta. When I went to the market the mangos just didn’t seem quite sweet and ripe enough but they had some wonderful smelling Hawaiian papaya. I’m sure that a lot of tropical fruit would be pretty amazing in this.
I love a good simple yet surprising recipe and this is definitely one of those. Panna cotta is one of my absolute favorite desserts and I have a little collection of different variations. They are great for guest dinners because you can make them ahead and they always seem to turn out pretty great.
The part that makes this panna cotta special is the fruit puree. I wanted mine to have the bite of the lime but also be enjoyably sweet so I added a good spoonful of honey to mine along with a lot of lime juice. I didn’t bother with straining to get a super fine texture, I just blended it as well as I could. The puree gets popped into the freezer to set in the glasses.
Next milk, cream and sugar get brought to a boil and then steeped with a vanilla bean and all of its aromatic pulp.
Gelatin is the key to the wonderful texture of the finished panna cotta. Once it blooms the cream mixture gets brought back to a boil and mixed with the gelatin.
Once it’s cool enough the cream mixture is poured over the fruit and it’s simply refrigerate and enjoy.
For me this is a perfect Arizona summer dessert. Cold and lightly sweet with tropical flavors. It doesn’t require the use of my oven and can be made easily. The papaya was perfect with the cold vanilla cream flavor and the lime and honey added depth. I really enjoyed this dessert and will probably add it to my favorite panna cotta recipes.