A Treat before Frankenstorm: Or The VCCFMLPC: Vermont Creamery Crème Fraîche Mango Lassi Panna Cotta

With Hurricane Sandy on track to be both "worse and wider than Irene" (those are the words of the local meteorologist, not mine), I'm doing my best to work my way through the refrigerators of both the bakery and main house in the event we lose power, which could very well lead to my backside becoming worse and wider before this storm is over.

If Irene is an indicator, where neighbors were left without cable or ice cream for DAYS, I'm not going to waste any of the good stuff to lack of refrigeration, so I've been busy in the kitchen.

First up?

I'm using the crème fraîche sent to me by Vermont Creamery.  I'd used up all their utterly outrageous vanilla bean crème fraîche in a caramel and green apple ice cream (recipe to come soon!), so I turned to their traditional offering and combined it with some mango purée I've had in the freezer that I'm loathe to surrender to the storm gods.

And while much of my garden has lost its verdancy, my mint continues to show itself bright green and fuzzy as ever. I allowed my mango to defrost and hightailed it outside where our mint grows wild and the geese (who are not so wild) followed me, curious and needy as ever.

They provide good and noisy company while foraging.

Still life of mint avec goose.

Based on the beautiful, thick and creamy nature of crème fraîche, a cultured cream not unlike sour cream but not quite so sour and quite a bit creamier, I decided to combine its star power with my vibrant mango in a panna cotta or a free standing mango lassi, my favorite Indian refreshment.  Top with mint and you'll have a fleeting reminder of summer melting on your tongue moments before Frankenstorm hits.

It's simple, fast and will be ready to consume before the power goes out.

Be safe, sweet people up and down the East Coast.

The VCCFMLPC (Vermont Creamery Crème Fraîche Mango Lassi Panna Cotta)


1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 (8 ounce) container crème fraîche, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup mango purée, divided (you can substitute other purées but be careful to steer away from fruits with bromelain like pineapple, papaya or passion fruit.  Unless the purée is well heat treated, the active bromelain will keep the gelatin from setting)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
a generous pinch salt
a few sprigs of fresh mint


•In a heavy saucepan, combine the heavy cream, the milk, 1/2 cup of the mango puree and the salt and bring to a simmer over medium low heat.

•Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of mango puree in a shallow bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top of the puree.  Allow to sit until the gelatin appears saturated and wet.

•Spray 12 small tea cups with a very light coating of non-stick cooking spray.  Arrange the cups on a sheet pan.

•Once the heavy cream mixture has come to a simmer, immediately stir in the crème fraîche until it's completely melted.  Immediately add the mango/gelatin mixture and stir until the gelatin has completely melted.

•Divide the liquid evenly among the 12 cups, a scant 1/2 cup in each cup.

•Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hour or overnight.

•To unmold, gently run a very thin paring knife close along the edge of the cup and the panna cotta, turn upside down right over a serving platter or a small plate and gently tap the cup against the plate until it releases.

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