Coconut Panna Cotta

My obsession with making things with gelatin continues... and so I present another very low sugar delightful dessert, Coconut Panna Cotta.

I first tasted Panna Cotta when working at a beautiful Italian restaurant in Seattle, which is also where my vegetarian days began to unravel. Everything the chef created was so artfully prepared and sourced from only the best local farms; this became my introduction to what REAL italian food looked like. (I grew up going to Spaghetti Factory.) During menu tastings I'd take tiny bites of slow braised beef shank or wild boar with truffles... you know, so I could accurately describe them to guests. And that was the beginning of the end of the Tofurkey.

Panna Cotta is a traditional dessert from the northern region of Piedmont, and is usually made simply with cream, sugar, and gelatin. I've kept a little cream in this recipe but added coconut milk for the flavor. Traditionally served with simple seasonal fruits like berries or stone fruits, Sugar Detoxers can use coconut flakes, cacao nibs, or macadamia nuts, and omit the maple syrup; I'm pretty sure you'll still be very happy with the results! 

Coconut Panna Cotta


-       1 can organic full-fat coconut milk

-       ½ cup organic/  grass-fed heavy whipping cream

-       1 vanilla bean OR 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

-       2 teaspoons grass-fed gelatin (this is the one I use)

-      Optional 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Separate ½ cup of the coconut milk, and place in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the gelatin with a fork so there are no clumps, and set aside to allow the gelatin to “bloom” or expand.

Heat the remaining coconut milk, heavy cream, vanilla bean (or extract), and maple syrup (if using) slowly in a small saucepan – making sure to not let it get all the way to a boil.  This step should take about 10 minutes.

*if you’ve used a vanilla bean, at this point strain it to remove.

Pour the hot mixture into the gelatin/coconut milk bowl, and stir until the gelatin dissolves. You can check this by dipping a spoon into the mix and notice if any granules come out on the spoon when lifted.

Allow the mix to cool for up to ½ hour at room temp. if you have the time; it creates a better gel.  Pour into molds, small bowls, or even wine glasses to make 4 servings.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.



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