Nothing cools on a sultry summer night like this easy to assemble coconut panna cotta- dairy free and not too sweet it’s the more sophisticated and relaxed grown up version of jello you’ve been waiting for. A dessert with the tang of fresh lime, tropical back notes of banana and coconut milk, and just the right amount of jiggle!
Coconut Lime Panna Cotta: easy dairy free dessert with banana
Panna Cotta is one of those desserts I forget about, a shame since it is so simple and adaptable because though the name means ‘cooked cream’ you don’t need cream and it’s just barely cooked- perfect for summer when the fruits are in season, and perfect for that moment when you find yourself challenged to photograph something white.
I might spark some Italian ire by calling this panna cotta at all but I’m taking the risk not simply because I don’t know what else to call it but because I feel like it is the best of what panna cotta has to offer- a creamy almost pudding like texture and simple clean flavors- without the weird disconnect that sometimes happens when you have heavy cream or milk set up like jello.
Some notes and observations about panna cotta
- If you want to add color any tangy sweet tropical fruit would add a delightful splash of flavor- mango purée, a slice of kiwi, passion fruit, pineapple?!
- All that coconut and lime got ya dreaming of pina coladas?how about adding a bit of this pineapple rum sauce from the new york times?
- Making panna cotta with coconut milk (or almond, or any other non dairy milk) generally leads to a softer set, avoid the urge to add more gelatin unless you want something more closely resembling those jello shots you regret doing than a delicately creamy custard like dessert
- Looking for variations and a basic template? this excellent kitchn article will make you want to try them all (but start here!)
- 500 mL coconut milk
- 1 small ripe banana
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large lime- juice and zest
- 1 1/4 tsp gelatin
in a medium sauce pan combine the coconut milk, sugar, and banana. mash the banana into the liquid add the zest from the lime (reserving some zest for garnish if desired) and bring to a simmer
meanwhile juice the lime and add the gelatin to the juice, allow to ‘bloom’/soften
add the gelatin lime juice mixture to the coconut milk and whisk over medium heat until combined and just below a boil. remove from heat.
Pour the mixture through a sieve into a pourable container, stirring to get the liquid through the banana bits. (i add the banana bits to my morning oatmeal because waste not)
Divide the strained liquid into 4 or five lightly oiled ramekins or molds and chill until set- at least four hours or overnight.
Release from molds lightly running under warm water if necessary and serve chilled, garnishing with reserved lime zest if desired
more gelatin will allow the panna cotta to set quicker but you'll lose the creamy gentler texture