Tropical panacotta

A friend and I have just started a cooking evening course, mostly because it’s quite fun and we might just learn something along the way. These two recipes are from that, with a couple of Dav style twists of course.

Vanilla pods can be hard to find and they’re certainly expensive. I’m lucky enough to have a couple of delis in town that sell pods that aren’t as dried and tired as the supermarket ones from the major brands of spice merchants. A fresh pod is one that flexes when you bend it in half, it shouldn’t snap. Some places are now starting to sell small jars of vanilla paste, which is better than vanilla extract because you still get the nice flecks of the seeds. A small jar is 4-5 pounds and one teaspoon is equivalent to 1 pod.

Gelatine is something that varies over time. Apparently, 1 sheet of gelatine used be enough to set 125ml, or 1/4 pint, or liquid, but some brands are more effective than others. I used 6 of Supercook’s sheets because that’s all the supermarket sells and it came out far too rubbery and my spoon nearly bounced off my forehead. Let them set slowly in the fridge over several hours. Whilst you can set them in an hour using the freezer, that makes them even more rubbery.


Serves 5, depending upon the size of your ramekins

200ml coconut milk, light or full fat is fine.
300ml double cream
5 gelatine leaves
75g palm sugar
1 vanilla pod
2 tbsp sugar cane rum

2 1/2 passion fruits
1 ripe mango
1 lime
2 tsp fresh mint
2 tbsp ginger syrup (think stem ginger jars)


Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for at least 5 minutes, until they’re soft.

Whilst they’re soaking, put the coconut milk, cream, sugar, the vanilla seeds and the pod itself into a pan and heat through until the sugar’s dissolved. Let it cool, discard the vanilla pod and mix in the rum.

Put the gelatine into the cream mix and stir until it’s dissolved.

Pour into your individual moulds and let it cool to room temperature before leaving it to set in the fridge.

To make up the mango salsa, finely dice the mango, halve and scoop out the passion fruit seeds and mix it together with the lime zest, a very small squeeze of the juice, the ginger syrup and the finely chopped mint. Give the salsa half an hour for the flavours to infuse.

To get the panacottas out of their ramekins, I put them in the steam from a boiling kettle for 20 seconds before turning them out. You might make a bit of a creamy mess from melting the outside layer, but you can wipe that up for presentation.

To serve, spoon the salsa back into the passion fruit halves and put a small sprig of mint in the top of each panacotta.

Tropical Panacotta