Panna Cotta with Papaya Coulis

I really had myself convinced that I was the only one in my circle with enough of a passion for food and perfectionism to spend an entire morning on a dish only to spend an entire afternoon taking pictures of it.  Well, I was wrong.

My friend Joy might be more of a perfectionist than I am.  She’s a very talented cook and when she offered to help me make a papaya dessert dish for an upcoming competition, I gladly accepted her help.  I just didn’t know what a treat I was in for.  She not only created this recipe, but she spent a whole day with me while we prepared it, designed plates, and composed photographs.  It was the most fun!

She really understood and took to the process quite well.  I didn’t even have to explain to her that we had to create about 17 versions of the dish to see which one would look better.  She was waaaay ahead of me on that.  We had a plain version, a raspberry puree version, a variety with one sauce, one with two sauces, one with a straight cookie, one with a bowl cookie. some made with molds, some poured into pretty little goblets….you get the point.  It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.

Now my neighbors are convinced there are two crazy women over here who stand out on the back patio fussing over food with tweezers and q-tips while bending in all sorts of curious poses, just to get at the right angle to capture a shot.  I am sure they wonder what in the heck I’m doing sometimes.  I should invite them over for some of this dessert.  I’m pretty sure if they tasted this, they’d truly understand the method to my madness.  Take a look at this.


This is Raspberry panna cotta with papaya coulis. 

If you need to bribe, barter, or beg for something…may I offer you this dessert as a tool?

Panna cotta, if you aren’t familiar with it, is kind of a milk Jello (technically an Italian cooked cream dessert).   I know it that sounds a bit odd at first, but let it sink in a minute…there are you feeling it now?


In the photo above, we made plain panna cotta instead of raspberry and we put it into silicone molds to let it set up.  We then released it from the molds and plated it with the coulis and a lavender blue cornmeal tuile we made from scratch.

Coulis is simply pureed sauce made from fruits or vegetables.  Ours is made of papaya and lime which is the perfect acidic bite to go along with the creamy and smooth panna cotta.

A tuile is just a delicate French cookie, made to be so thin that is has  the likeness of lace.


Once we figured out we needed to soak the molds in hot water before wiggling out the panna cotta, we were able to get a perfectly smooth texture on the outside of the dessert as you see in the picture above.

We also made a version with a yin-yang pattern to the sauce.  We used the papaya coulis along with some raspberry sauce we whipped up.


We tried shaping some of the tuile cookies into bowls.  This was our least favorite version of the dessert, but it’s still impressive.


If you need to serve something that will impress, mesmerize, drop jaws, or otherwise evoke pure ecstasy, this is your recipe.  Despite the fact that is one is a looker…it is really not a difficult dessert to make.  It uses mostly pantry ingredients and the ability to use a pretty little glass instead of a mold, makes it technically easy to execute.

Classics are classics for a reason.  This dessert contains all the elements of a perfect dessert…it’s sweet, creamy, crunchy, and acidic.  It’s sophisticated, yet not pretentious.

And I have to say, we took it up a notch with that cookie.  It is not just for looks.  There is something about the combination of the crunchy blue cornmeal and the sweet spring lavender that really pops.  Divine!

Every single dish will be scraped clean, trust me.

It’s hard for me to stop posting these photos…they are all so pretty.


I hope this one encourages you to try something new!

Panna Cotta with Papaya Coulis and a Blue Lavender Tuile

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


  • For the Papaya Coulis:
  • The flesh of one large ripe papaya or 1 cup frozen that has been thawed
  • 1 Tbs lime juice
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • For the Panna Cotta:
  • 2 1/2 tsp gelatin
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C sugar to taste
  • 1/2 C raspberry puree (just blended and pushed through a mesh strainer)-omit if making plain
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • For the Tuile:
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 tsp lavender buds
  • 1/4 all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs blue corn meal
  • 1 1/4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Prepare the coulis by pulsing the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until smooth.
  2. Pour into a small saucepan and cook over medium low for five minutes.
  3. Refrigerate until needed.
  4. To make the panna cotta, bloom the gelatin by placing it in the milk. Stir gently until it dissolves and set aside.
  5. Heat the cream, sugar, and raspberry puree in a sauce pan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the vanilla.
  6. Add the gelatin and milk mixture.
  7. Whisk the mixture thoroughly until all elements are combined.
  8. Pour into silicone molds and refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm.
  9. Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment
  10. Blend egg white and sugar together until frothy.
  11. Add the remaining ingredients and blend for 30 seconds or just until combined.
  12. Place 2 tsp of the cookie mixture on the parchment and smooth with the back of a spoon into an oblong shape-it should be as thin as you can get it.
  13. Repeat this process using all the batter, but leaving plenty of space in between the cookies.
  14. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes just until they are set. They will be a little brown around the edges.
  15. Plate the dessert by placing a cookie onto a plate.
  16. Cover the plate and some of the cookie with the papaya coulis. Loosen the panna cotta from the mold by immersing it hot water for a couple of seconds.
  17. Go around the outer edge with a sharp knife if needed.
  18. Place the panna cotta onto the cookie and coulis.
  19. Garnish with some fresh raspberries and a sprig of mint if desired



  1. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. You are amazing! And look what you accomplished together. It may be something to consider.

  2. What a beautiful dish. Wish I could enjoy every night.

  3. You two need to go into catering. :) I would recommend you to every person I know.

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