Panna cotta are the dessert of choice when chefs try to show off. Appearing not only as a recurrent theme in reality TV cooking shows, they are also often seen in many starred hotel dessert buffets, and solo in upscale restaurant menus – at a high price tag. All of which makes you think that panna cottas are super elaborate, requiring a degree from Le Cordon Bleu sort of hard. I used to believe so too. But you are in for a surprise. For I dare you to think of a fancier sounding and easier to make keto dessert!
Part of the reason why Italian panna cotta is always showing up in high end settings is the easy customization: Panna cotta can be dressed up in many ways, creating unique and sophisticated presentations. You can serve your keto panna cotta in glasses with toppings – or bottoms – or unmolded, plated and decorated.
You can go wild with the options, looking for keto or low-carb versions of shaved or melted chocolate, citrus peels or zest, thinly sliced fruit, small berries, jam or compote, or juice or alcoholic reductions, sugar-free liqueurs, custard… anything goes, and almost everything will taste and look incredible.
The different thing about this keto coconut panna cotta recipe? Panna cotta are traditionally made with dairy cream, and the fancy sounding name literally means “cooked cream” in Italian. But I had an open can of coconut milk – from my many pandan cake experiments – and thought, you know what… Why not try coconut milk instead of dairy cream panna cotta? It worked. The texture is as creamy and wobbly as its cow’s milk equivalent, and the delicate coconut taste is yum!
How to prepare the keto coconut panna cotta
Blooming, or hydrating the gelatin before adding the hot liquid is essential to avoid lumps, and achieve a smooth and silky keto panna cotta. Put 50 grams of water in a bowl and add the 2 teaspoons of powder gelatin on top, give it a quick stir with a fork, and let the gelatin rest for a while to bloom.
Heat up the the coconut milk in a saucepan on medium heat, or in a jar/mug in the microwave, with the (optional) vanilla extract and stevia – I gave a couple of squirts from the bottle, and tried for sweetness. Your keto panna cotta should not be overly sweet, so you can really taste the delicate coconut milk.
After the mixture is really hot but before boiling, you can add it to the bloomed gelatin. Mix it very well, until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
How to make a quick sugar-free strawberry jam
Simmer the strawberries and water in a saucepan until softened, them crush them out with a fork or potato masher.
Remove from heat, and when it stops bubbling taste it for sweetness, and adjust to your liking by adding drops of stevia.
We’re taking a shortcut here: no need for blooming the gelatin, if you are quick. If you aren’t, that’s OK. You won’t be able to tell a small gelatin lump from the strawberry bits, anyway. Just sprinkle the gelatin evenly around the top of the sugar-free strawberry sauce and immediately mix it well with a fork. Put the mixture in your chosen serving glasses and take them to the fridge to set.
How to serve keto coconut panna cotta
I chose to serve these dairy-free panna cotta straight out of cocktail glasses, with the strawberry base set on the bottom of the glass. If you don’t mind waiting longer (around 6 hours or overnight) you can serve them unmolded: Run a sharp knife around the top edge, dip the container into hot water for a couple of seconds only to loosen the keto panna cotta and turn it onto the serving plate.
Be careful with the timing when dipping your keto panna cotta in hot water: there’s a fine line between just long enough to get the panna cotta unstuck OR to melt it away and have it flop out, smashed onto the plate like a melted pancake. It happened 😞 Still delicious, though!
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- 250 grams coconut milk - canned
- 50 grams water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract - optional
- A few drops of stevia - to taste
- 2 teaspoons gelatin powder, unflavored
- 100 grams frozen strawberries
- 1 tablespoon water
- A few drops of stevia - to taste
- 1 teaspoon gelatin powder, unflavored
1. In a saucepan, add water and strawberries, and put it on low heat. Stir it occasionally until the strawberries soften, then crush them with a fork or a potato masher.
2. Simmer the strawberries until the excess moisture evaporates, around 10 minutes for frozen, half this time for fresh strawberries. Remove from heat. Taste it and add stevia if needed,
3. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the strawberry sauce and quickly mix it well with a fork. Put the mixture in your chosen serving glasses and take them to the fridge to set for around 1 hour.
Coconut panna cotta
1. Put 50 ml of water in a bowl and add the 2 teaspoons of powder gelatin on top, give it a quick stir with a fork, and let it rest 5 minutes to hydrate.
2. Mix the coconut milk with the vanilla extract (optional) and stevia as needed. Heat it up until hot but don't boil.
3. Add the hot coconut mixture to the bloomed gelatin. Mix it until completely dissolved. Check on the back of the spoon for any undissolved granules. Keep stirring until they are gone.
4. When the coconut mixture gets to room temperature, add it on top of the settled strawberry base. Pour slowly while moving the glass around to not create any holes.
5. Leave it on the fridge for about 2 hours to eat it straight from the glass, or a minimum of 6 hours or overnight if you intend to unmold and it serve upside down.
US Cups approximate conversion: Use 1 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup
water. Other ingredients as indicated.
Canned coconut milk tends to be thicker, and the one I used has a consistency akin to whipping cream. If your coconut milk is more runny, add more gelatin.
To unmold, run a sharp knife around the top edge, dip the container into hot water for a few seconds to loosen the panna cotta and turn it onto the serving plate.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 173Total Fat: 15.2gSaturated Fat: 13.8gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 112mgCarbohydrates: 5.7gNet Carbohydrates: 4.7gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 3.4g
Nutritional information is provided as a guideline only. Different brands of ingredients may have different nutrition facts. If you are doing a very strict form of keto, such as for medical purposes, please do remake the calculations using the nutrition facts from the labels of the ingredients you selected. Net carbs calculated exclude carbs from insoluble fiber and the sugar alcohol erythritol.