Coconut Panna Cotta with Spicy Mango

Coconut Panna Cotta -5964

I know people who organize their restaurant meals around dessert.  Pas moi.  The light in my brain, my desire for dessert, flickers in fits and starts, dependent on context and the availability of something inclined to my retrograde tastes.   A slice of fruit tart is never amiss at the end of a picnic: if I know that a master of crème caramel, flying in the face of fashion, resides in the house, I can be tempted.  As I can be with homemade panna cotta, that exquisitely delicate Italian wobbler.  When Sara Cravedi, the pastry chef at Trade, introduced a coconut panna cotta onto the dessert menu, my dessert light began flashing an SOS.  Sara’s dessert includes a scoop of avocado ice cream, crumbled peanut brittle and a mango macerated with lime and habanero pepper.  It come together in an interplacy of heat, fat, sweetness, delicacy and unctuousness.  Jody’s Coconut Panna Cotta with Spicy Mango pares things down to just a pair of flavors–coconut and mango–just in case you don’t have an ice cream machine and pastry kitchen standing in readiness for the next dessert launch.  To make it even easier, there’s no need to un-mold this panna cotta–it’s served in its glass, topped with a spoonful of spicy mango.  Think of the panna cotta and mango as a couple that wandered off the terrace party to do a little dance by themselves down on the beach.

What the world needs now is. . . Goat’s Milk Panna Cotta with Star Anise and Grape Compote.

Another panna cotta recipe?  Really?

As well ask, Does the world need another saxophone riff?  Another short story?  Another poem?  Of course it does.  Look, if you’re filleting fugu or sautéing false morels (not advised), you want a recipe nazi with hairy calves and an I summitted K2 without O2 tattoo.   But panna cotta?  Ah, no.  Panna cotta is a melody that invites riffing, if only because sometimes no matter how wonderful the last iteration, the simple tune of cooked cream cries out for variation, a what if . . .  and because sometimes things just don’t work the way the recipe says they should, so you need to improvise.  That’s how we ended up with Goat’s Milk Panna Cotta with Star Anise and Grape Compote.