Panna Cotta is hands down one of my favorite Italian desserts. I like it naked or dressed up, topped with fresh berries or toasted nuts… It’s a versatile dessert; sweet enough, but not too sweet, just the way I like it. The problem is I cannot have it when I’m on the AIP Paleo Diet because dairy is not compliant with the protocol, and cow’s milk is the main ingredient of this simple yet delicious dessert. So, what’s an Italian girl to do when she can’t have traditional Panna Cotta? She makes Coconut Panna Cotta!
If you or anyone in your family has autoimmune diseases but also a sweet tooth, this dessert will soon become your go-to AIP-compliant choice. Of course, sugar is never the best thing for gut health, even when it comes from something as wholesome as fresh fruits, but at least each ingredient in this version of Panna Cotta is natural and approved by the Protocol. So, this is a healthy dessert recipe for everybody.
EASY & SIMPLE COCONUT PANNA COTTA
Like most traditional Italian cuisine, Panna Cotta is uncomplicated. The original recipe has only 3 main ingredients (milk, sugar, and gelatin). And that is the reason why it can be dressed, topped and flavored in so many different ways. Think of it as the “tofu” of desserts: it can take on any flavor your heart desires. (Disclosure: I hate tofu. I’m using in it in this analogy just to get my point across, NOT to suggest that Panna Cotta tastes in any way like tofu. Because it doesn’t. Not. At. All. )
Just like the traditional version, this Coconut Panna Cotta has only 3 main ingredients: coconut milk, organic coconut sugar, gelatin (substitute agar agar if you are vegan).
The rest of the ingredients I’m using for flavor are: vanilla extract, blueberries, and strawberries. I often choose berries in my dessert recipes, like this super simple Berry Macedonia. I’m just crazy about berries!
YOUR SHOPPING LIST
- Coconut Milk (full fat)
- Organic Coconut Sugar
- Gelatin (or Agar Agar if vegan)
- Vanilla Extract
- your favorite Berries
And that’s it! Now all we need is a pot, a stove, a spoon or whisk, and some cups or ramekins. Let’s do this!
Watch how quick and easy it is to put this scrumptious dessert together.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. It is that quick and magical. After stirring your ingredients for a few short minutes, you will have your Coconut Panna Cotta looking pretty and ready for a nap in the fridge to let the consistency set and deliver the creaminess this dessert is famous for.
Little side note: my Coconut Panna Cotta is tan because I made it in Miami Beach. Just kidding! Mine is tan because I’m using organic coconut sugar, which has a deep brown color as you can see in the photo above and the video. For a whiter Panna Cotta you can use honey or maple syrup.
NAKED, TOPPED OR UPSIDE-DOWN?
Surprise me! All the options sound sexy 😉 Plus, this dessert is elegant in its simplicity and looks enticing even without any garnish or presentation. Personally, I like it simple and bare, digging it out of the ramekin with a spoon. Or still in the ramekin but topped with a quick fresh berry compote (see recipe below). Or upside-down on a plate, lavished with syrupy berries. Can’t pick one? Have all three!
UPSIDE-DOWN COCONUT PANNA COTTA: TIP
If you decide you want to take the Coconut Panna Cotta out of the ramekin and turn it upside-down onto a plate, I suggest the following:
- smear the ramekin with coconut oil before filling it with your milky mix.
- After you take it out of the fridge put the ramekin inside a bowl with warm water up to its rim and wait a few seconds.
- Run a butter knife carefully around the sides of the ramekin to help release your Coconut Panna Cotta.
- Turn it upside down onto a plate and give it a sharp tap.
Here is the full recipe. I hope you try this quick & easy alternative for a dairy-free Panna Cotta.
Coconut Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries
- 2 cups Coconut Milk Full Fat
- 2 tsp Gelatin Powder Unflavored, Substitute Agar Agar if Vegan
- 1/3 cup Coconut Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tbsp Coconut Flakes Optional (garnish)
Fresh Berries Compote (just mix ingredients together)
- 1 tbsp Strawberries Chopped
- 1.5 tbsp Blueberries
- 1.5 tsp Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- In a pot, stir in coconut milk and gelatin. Let it rest for 5 minutes for the gelatin to hydrate.
- Turn on stove set on medium and put on the pot with milk and gelatin.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Keep stirring until smooth and warm. DON'T let it boil!
- Pour mixture into single ramekins or cups.
- Let it cool off for a few minutes and refrigerate for at least 4 hours for Panna Cotta to set.
- Serve topped with the fresh berries compote and coconut flakes if you'd like. You can leave the Panna Cotta inside the ramekins or cups. Alternatively, you can slide it out onto a plate and garnish like in this photo. Buon Appetito!
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