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Carol Kicinski
Toasted coconut is a delicious addition to mango panna cotta.

Brighten your day with mango panna cotta

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   As my formative years were spent in the Philippines, I think I was pre-disposed to love mangoes and silken smooth desserts. This dairy-free panna cotta is a luscious yet light combination of both. While it is perfect for a hot summer’s evening, it is also quite refreshing after a heavy, long simmered stew on a chilly winter night. In fact it brings a bit of brightness into a dreary, dismal day.
   Typically a panna cotta is un-molded and you should feel free to do so if you prefer, but I think it looks so pretty served in a little dish with a couple mango slices shooting out the top and just a small sprinkle of toasted coconut for crunch and color.
   OK, maybe I am just lazy but I am going with the “I think it looks so pretty” story and sticking with it!
   Be sure to look for mangoes with smooth skin that are plump and round – especially at the stem end. Thin, flat mangoes are likely to be stringy.
   A ripe mango will be slightly soft to the touch just like avocados and
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Coconut Mango Panna Cotta
Serves 6
3 medium mangos (use divided)
Honey or agave nectar (optional)
3 tablespoons water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
¼ cup coconut palm sugar
⅓ cup sweetened coconut flakes

   For un-molded panna cottas spray 6 (6-ounce) ramekins lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Skip this step for molded panna cottas.
   Cut mangoes as close to seed as possible so you have two cheeks per mango. Remove skin. Slice one mango into 12 slivers. Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge.
   Cut flesh from other two mangoes into chunks and puree in blender until very smooth. Taste puree. If it’s not sweet enough add a small squeeze of honey or agave nectar being careful not to overpower the mango flavor. Push puree through a fine strainer to remove fibrous strands.
   Put water in small microwavable bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it. Let set 5 minutes. Microwave gelatin on high 10 seconds to melt.
   Put coconut milk and coconut palm sugar in small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Heat just to boiling point. Whisk gelatin mixture into coconut milk, then whisk in mango puree.
   Divide mixture evenly between ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 4 to 5 hours.
   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
   Spread a layer of coconut on a sheet pan and bake 10 to 15 minutes, stirring a few times. Watch coconut carefully as it can go from toasted to burnt in seconds. Let cool.
   For unmolded panna cotta run a sharp knife around edges of ramekins and place a small plate on top. Flip plate and ramekin over and panna cotta should slip out onto plate. If it doesn’t, place a hot towel on the ramekin for a few seconds. Serve with mango slices and coconut.
   For molded panna cotta simply stick a couple mango spears into the top and sprinkle on toasted coconut.
peaches, but not soft or mushy. A ripe mango will have a strong, sweet, fruity aroma. Mangoes that smell sour or like alcohol will be overripe. Unless you need to use the mangoes right away,
you can buy them a little on the firm side and let them ripen at room temperature, just like an avocado.