Vanilla Coconut Panna Cotta

March 01, 2011

The Daring Baker’s February challenge hosted by Mallory was a Creamy Dreamy Crunchy Sweet February featuring Vanilla Panna Cotta. I made a Vanilla and Coconut Panna Cotta paired with Nestle florentine cookies with a recipe from Grace’s Sweet Life

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set.

It’s very smooth, silky and dreamy.



Vanilla Coconut Panna Cotta



  • 2 cups (500 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream, 35%
  • 1 cup (250 ml) cream, 18%
  • 1 cup caster (superfine granules) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • 6 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 envelopes unflavoured gelatin, about 4½ teaspoons


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk, creams, sugar and vanilla bean (split lengthwise, scrape seeds and add to the coconut mixture); stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring just to the boil; then remove from heat, cover and let steep for 20 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small-sized bowl and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain (to remove vanilla bean) the very warm Panna Cotta mixture into a medium-sized bowl. (OR Add 2 tsp vanilla)
  4. Add the gelatin to the Panna Cotta mixture and whisk until the gelatin has completely dissolved.
  5. Pour the Panna Cotta into your serving glasses (leaving room for your layer of pomegranate jelly) and chill for at least 3 hours.

You can either enjoy the panna cotta alone or pair it with a flavoured jelly. I chose 2 variations: pomegranate jelly and a coffee jelly.

The secret is to make your own pomegranate jelly. You can use the juice by POM but I sliced open a POM pomegranate and juiced it, and added gelatin. I’ll be posting up the recipe in the near future.

To get the two layers, I first chilled the panna cotta mixture while tilting the glass in the fridge. And then after that layer was solid, I add the pomegranate jelly mixture and allowed it to solidfy.

Garnish with 3 pomegranate seeds.

I also homemade the coffee jelly by brewing a regular pot of coffee and adding gelatin.

Chill the panna cotta layer first and then pour the coffee mixture over. Make sure the coffee mixture is cool and not hot or else the panna cotta layer will melt.

A few tips from Mallory:

  • When you sprinkle your gelatin over your milk, be sure that it’s a thin even layer of gelatin, no clumps. When you heat it up after it’s soaked a bit, you’ll be less likely to get any lumps of gelatin in the finished product.
  • If you would like to unmold your Panna Cotta from a ramekin simply run a knife along the edge, dip the ramekin in a bit of hot water, then invert onto your serving platter. Viola! Unmolded Panna Cotta. (Be aware though, Panna Cotta is not Jell-o, it’s got a much softer texture so it does not keep its shape in the same way as Jell-o)
  • If you cannot find powdered gelatin/only have access to sheet gelatin this can be used. Please follow the directions on the package for conversions.
  • Milk substitutes, such as skim, almond, or even coconut milk can be used in the vanilla Panna Cotta in place of the whole milk, but cream is important. In order to get the right texture there needs be a certain percentage of cream fat! There are lower fat recipes out there that use yogurts in place of milk, but the recipes I’ve chosen are full fat, sorry guys!!

Personally, I liked the coffee jelly with the panna cotta. The coffee flavor pairs nicely with the vanilla and coconut flavor but it’s entirely up to you!

Here’s a video tutorial!


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.


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