Silky smooth Coconut Panna Cotta. Spicy, gingery syrup. A light, Asian-style dessert that’s simple to prepare and perfect for after dinner.
The dilemma of dessert is that most of the time, it’s just too sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I like dessert. But there’s no need to make every end of dinner treat tooth-achingly sugary.
To that end, I bring you the perfect, lightly-sweetened dessert: Coconut Panna Cotta with Ginger Syrup. One that’s sure to indulge that after dinner craving yet doesn’t taste cloyingly sweet and saccharin.
The Ginger Syrup is entirely optional. But I love that spicy-sweet bite. The ginger cuts through the richness and adds a little kick. That being said, you can certainly serve this without the ginger syrup but I think it tastes better together. 🙂
As a bonus, this dessert is easy to prep in advance and make en masse. Meaning, it feeds tons of people and can be made with just a few ingredients the day before.
The only special equipment you need are small glasses, like the kind I used here. These are juice glasses or basic, ordinary glass cups. Individual ramekins also work. For a larger party, clear plastic cups could also work.
The hardest part of making Coconut Panna Cotta will be finding the gelatine. For some reason, gelatine comes in two sizes: tiny or ginormous. You can buy gelatine in little packets that hold about 2 1/4 tsp. Or you can buy a box that holds about 500 ml or 2 cups. That’s a lot of gelatine, especially when most recipes call for amounts in teaspoons.
Whatever you choose, gelatine needs to bloom. Sprinkle the gelatine over some cold water. Let it rest for 5 minutes. That blooming time will allow the gelatine granules to swell. When you whisk the bloomed gelatine into the rest of the mixture, the liquid is sure to gel properly.
I’ve made this recipe easy to make for a crowd. Simply double, triple, or quadruple the amount. Pour into little cups. Then chill. It’s time for the party to begin.
Coconut Panna Cotta with Ginger Syrup
Coconut Panna Cotta
- 1 can 400ml/14.5 oz coconut milk (not the boxed kind or “light” version)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 1/4 tsp gelatine usually 1 small packet
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sliced ginger
- crystalized ginger, cut into thin strips (optional)
Make Ginger Syrup
- In a small sauce pan, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil. Mix with spoon until the sugar dissolves. Add sliced ginger. Lower heat and simmer until dark and syrupy, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container with some of the boiled ginger slices. This will keep for a long time this way, as long as the ginger slices are covered in liquid.
Make Panna Cotta
- In a small bowl, add water. Carefully sprinkle the gelatine over the top. Make sure to spread the granules evenly and not in one clump. Set aside to bloom, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk until the liquid is warm and just starts to steam. If the coconut milk comes out in clumps, that's ok. Canned coconut milk separates into solid coconut creme and milk. Whisk and the problem should be resolved.
- Add sugar. Whisk until combined. Remove from heat and whisk in the gelatine mixture.
- Pour into small glasses or ramekins. To make the pouring easier, use a large measuring cup. Chill for at least 2-4 hours, preferably overnight.
- When serving, spoon 1-2 teaspoons of the ginger syrup over the top of each cup/ramekin. There should be a very thin layer of ginger syrup that floats over the top of the firmed up panna cotta.
- Optional: use small slices of crystalized ginger for garnish, if desired. Serve with additional ginger syrup so that people can help themselves to more.