Sweet Avocado Panna Cotta

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Sweet Avocado Panna Cotta

Last month, I traveled to the Los Angeles area, where I was delighted to co-host a Blogger Challenge with the team from La Lechera.

The event brought together Latina food bloggers from all backgrounds, to a fully stocked and equipped kitchen, for a little lighthearted competition and a lot of sharing and talking about food.

To begin with, we all had the opportunity to learn about each other’s work and family, with an introductory video. There were a few tears as well as a lot of laughter in response to the images captured from everyone’s social media, as they were displayed on the screen. In a few minutes, the ice had been broken and we all connected over two things: the food we love and the people we adore.

The invited bloggers and the Nestle Kitchen consultants
(The invited bloggers and the Nestle kitchen consultants, Chris Garboski and Natalie Samarge.)
Pati and Priscila
(With La Lechera’s Marketing Manager, Priscila Stanton.)

I am always amazed at how many ingredients we Latinos from different countries share across cultures and the similar and different ways we use them. Such is the case with La Lechera sweetened condensed milk, which I grew up with in my pantry, ever since I can remember, in Mexico City.

It is one of the ingredients that helped me bridge my move to the US and allowed me to grow roots in this country feeling nurtured and less homesick: being able to make the sweets I remembered from back home, with the taste from home.

These days, it is an ingredient that keeps me connected with my family in Mexico. On any given day, my kids here in DC could be eating the same chocoflan as their cousins in Distrito Federal! Those same recipes continue to be passed on generation after generation.

Yet, I have also been playing with it, creating new dishes that have a special meaning for us. As much as I am Mexican, my kids live in the land of Mex-Americana.

It turns out the same is true for many of the bloggers I had the pleasure of trading stories with at the event.

Group photo with Pati and all the invited bloggers
(Here I am with the Nestle team and the participating bloggers.)

We all had the chance to sample of some of the treats I love making for my family. A few of the traditional ones from my childhood, and a few I’ve created with special intentions for my boys.

Such is the case with my chocolatey marbled tres leches cake to appreciate how sweet compromise can taste between brothers; my smooth pumpkin flan with a crunchy chocolate crust, which helps us celebrate holidays in the Fall with ingredients treasured both in Mexico and the US in this season; my savory and sweet homemade cookies that allow my boys to bring a taste of home wherever they take the cookies; and my mango puff which can take the boys wherever their imagination can go…

Some of Pati's dishes
(Some of my dishes shared: Pumpkin Flan, Mango Puff, Dulce de Leche Crepes and Chocoflan.)

Then, the competition began. And it was FUN.

See, this competition was truly unique. Everyone split up into teams. Each team had La Lechera sweetened condensed milk and dulce de leche handy, but they had a mystery box of ingredients with not 1, but 5 mystery ingredients: a spice, an herb, a fruit, a liquid and a “funky” ingredient. The team had to use 3 out of those 5 and got a bonus if they used all 5. Also, each team had to come up with their team name, dessert name, and share what inspired them to come up with their creation.

teams cooking during the challenge
(The teams hard at work! They had 2 hours from start to finish.)

The participating bloggers were…

Nicole Presley from Presley’s Pantry
Enriqueta Lemoine from Mamás Latinas
Maura Wall Hernandez from The Other Side of the Tortilla
Victoria Infante from Baby Center Latino
Yvonne Condes from Moms LA
Cristina Duffy from Una Colombiana en California
Eva Smith from Tech Food Life
Vanessa Diaz from The Queen of Swag
Natalia Carter from Comiendo en LA
Jeannette Kaplun from Hispana Global
Carmen Melgoza from Latino Fit Club
Jessica Raygoza from Go Blabb

Table where final treats were set.
(Table where final treats were set.)

Next, came the time to listen, taste and judge.

Yep! We got to try them all. And we of course, took every step very seriously.

Judging the teams' desserts.
(Taking tons of notes…)
Announcing the winners
(Announcing the winners!)

After a lot of deliberation, and eating, we decided on a winner: the Avocado Panna Cotta with Zeppole.

Although we had so many reasons to like all of the desserts; an apricot, tapioca and pecan gluten-free tart, adorable spider shaped muffins with ancho chile legs (!), a raspberry mouse…but after we took a bite of the smooth avocado panna cotta along with the crispy churro zeppole, we knew we had a winner. Plus, the team used all 5 of the ingredients: the avocado, cacao nibs, rosemary, coconut milk and cardamom; as well as the La Lechera classics.

I was so taken with the dessert I had to ask them to let me share the recipe with you. The creamy avocado panna cotta is light and fresh, it was topped with a creative rosemary whipped cream, and warm crisp zeppole, which is a churro-like donut hole, on the side.

Pati with the winning team.
(Here are our winners with their dish!)
A winner with her prize.
(And one of our winners, Maura Wall Hernandez, with her prize: my cookbook and La Lechera ingredients and goodies.)

I was delighted to have had the chance to finally meet Maura in person, after we have been following each other on social media, and interacting, for a long time!

Pati signing cookbooks
(Signing a cookbook and chatting with Enriqueta Lemoine.)

Well after the event finished, in typical Latina fashion, we continued to share stories.

I was so thrilled to sign and dedicate my cookbook full of recipes I love with all of the bloggers. I hope to be able to cook from their cookbooks in the near future too!

Avocado Panna Cotta
Print Recipe
4 to 6 servings Courtesy, Maura Wall Hernandez, Nicole Presley and Vanessa Diaz
Ingredients
  • For the panna cotta:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup La Lechera sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • For the rosemary whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
To Prepare
  • To make the panna cotta: In a blender or food processor, puree the avocado, milk, and coconut milk until smooth.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the sweetened condensed milk and sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the pureed avocado mixture into the saucepan and stir to combine with the sugar and sweetened condensed milk. Continue cooking until the mixture comes to a simmer, about 2 to 5 minutes.
  • While you wait for the avocado and sweetened condensed milk mixture to come to a simmer, combine the gelatin and hot water in a bowl and mix well to dissolve the gelatin completely.
  • Add the gelatin mixture to the saucepan, stir to combine with avocado and sweetened condensed milk mixture, and cook for a minute longer.
  • Remove from heat and divide the panna cotta evenly among 4 to 6 6 oz ramekins. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
  • To make the rosemary whipped cream: In the bowl of a mixer, add the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and rosemary. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high until soft peaks form, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Serve panna cotta in the ramekins with a dollop of the whipped cream on top, and zeppole (recipe follows) on the side, if desired.
Ingredients
  • For the panna cotta:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup La Lechera sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • For the rosemary whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
To Prepare
  • To make the panna cotta: In a blender or food processor, puree the avocado, milk, and coconut milk until smooth.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the sweetened condensed milk and sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the pureed avocado mixture into the saucepan and stir to combine with the sugar and sweetened condensed milk. Continue cooking until the mixture comes to a simmer, about 2 to 5 minutes.
  • While you wait for the avocado and sweetened condensed milk mixture to come to a simmer, combine the gelatin and hot water in a bowl and mix well to dissolve the gelatin completely.
  • Add the gelatin mixture to the saucepan, stir to combine with avocado and sweetened condensed milk mixture, and cook for a minute longer.
  • Remove from heat and divide the panna cotta evenly among 4 to 6 6 oz ramekins. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
  • To make the rosemary whipped cream: In the bowl of a mixer, add the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and rosemary. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high until soft peaks form, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Serve panna cotta in the ramekins with a dollop of the whipped cream on top, and zeppole (recipe follows) on the side, if desired.

 

Zeppole (Churro Like Donut Holes)
Print Recipe
Courtesy, Maura Wall Hernandez, Nicole Presley and Vanessa Diaz
Ingredients
  • For the zeppole:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 to 5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter melted
  • 3 tablespoons La Lechera dulce de leche
  • Vegetable oil for frying the zeppoles
  • For the zeppole coating:
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
To Prepare
  • Pour all ingredients into a bowl starting with the flour and baking powder. Proceed to pour in the milk, butter, salt, and egg. Begin to mix and form a dough. Then pour the dulce de leche into the dough and mix well until it is all incorporated.
  • Make sure dough is not sticky. If dough has a sticky texture, add 1 more cup of flower to thicken the consistency of the dough.
  • Roll the dough into little round balls about an inch wide to make the donut hole zeppoles.
  • Fill a heavy-bottomed skillet or casserole with about ¼-inch of oil and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, fry the zeppoles until dark golden brown, so the dough is cooked through. Place on paper towel to catch the oil and cool.
  • Combine the cinnamon, sugar, and cardamom in a bowl and roll the cooked zeppoles in the mixture until well coated.
  • Place finished zeppoles on small wooden skewers and serve with the avocado panna cotta.
Ingredients
  • For the zeppole:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 to 5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter melted
  • 3 tablespoons La Lechera dulce de leche
  • Vegetable oil for frying the zeppoles
  • For the zeppole coating:
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
To Prepare
  • Pour all ingredients into a bowl starting with the flour and baking powder. Proceed to pour in the milk, butter, salt, and egg. Begin to mix and form a dough. Then pour the dulce de leche into the dough and mix well until it is all incorporated.
  • Make sure dough is not sticky. If dough has a sticky texture, add 1 more cup of flower to thicken the consistency of the dough.
  • Roll the dough into little round balls about an inch wide to make the donut hole zeppoles.
  • Fill a heavy-bottomed skillet or casserole with about ¼-inch of oil and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, fry the zeppoles until dark golden brown, so the dough is cooked through. Place on paper towel to catch the oil and cool.
  • Combine the cinnamon, sugar, and cardamom in a bowl and roll the cooked zeppoles in the mixture until well coated.
  • Place finished zeppoles on small wooden skewers and serve with the avocado panna cotta.

15 comments on “Sweet Avocado Panna Cotta

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  1. Hi Pati
    I need a recipe for chimichangas for breakfast do you think is possible to have it with eggs.

    Thank you
    Maria
    Florida

  2. “Help, Pati”!

    I need your recipe for the Pineapple salsa that you made,you know, the one that goes over fish.

    Thanks!

    Rosanna
    Silicon Valley

  3. Avocado panna cotta? This sounds really good.I love Mexican food and Italian food and this dessert seems to combine both cuisines fabulously. Thanks Pati!

  4. Hello Pati , I like to say, I love searchng through your recipes, I love how you stay old school, I dislike alot of the new recipes out there how they try to add a different spin on the original way of true mexican cooking, I was raised up on my gramma’s cooking, I miss it so much, but now that I ran across your site, I feel like I found my childhood back, Thank You so much for keeping it traditional. I also wanted to ask you, do you have any idea of what kind of spices are used in jimboys tacos. Thank You in advance.

  5. Thank you for this lovely article about this compettion. I am a ” gringa” through and through . I so appreciate women of other ethnicisities who share their culture with those of us , who have nothing preserved of our heritage. I have very few food traditions that reflect my family’s roots. I have gone back and added things that I think my ancestors may have eaten to find a connection ( lots of potatoes).Thanks to you strong women for preserving your history and moving it into the future. Our country is so much better because of you . You have broadened my mind , my heart , and my palate.