Panna cotta (“cooked cream” in Italian) is a popular Italian dessert. The basic form contains very few ingredients: heavy cream, sugar and gelatin. It doesn’t require baking and is easy to make and serve, as it can keep in the fridge until ready to serve. No wonder it became such a popular dessert all over the world.
When made properly, the flavor is fresh and delicate and the texture is light and velvety. A small portion of it goes a long way and with a few fresh garnishes or fruit syrups, it is both beautiful and tasty dessert.
If you’re familiar with this blog, you probably know by now that I’m not much into substitutes. However, sometimes they work so well, it’s worth it to use them. In this case, I was asked to prepare a lactose-free version for the dessert, and the first alternative that came to mind was coconut milk. I’ve decided to make it more fragrant and interesting by using honey as a sweetener instead of sugar, and infuse it with lime and ginger. The result was definitely good enough to share. I’m sure you’ll agree once you’ll make this tasty variation.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours
1 medium lime, washed
2 Tbs chopped fresh ginger
2 Tbs boiling water
1/3 cup honey, preferably orange blossom
¾ cup water
2 packets (0.5 oz, 14 grams) gelatin powder
1 can (13.3oz, 400ml) coconut milk
½ lime, sliced thin
¼ cup honey
1. Remove the zest from the lime with a vegetable peeler and chop well. Juice the lime and measure 2 Tbs.
2. Place the chopped zest and ginger in a small bowl and add 2 Tbs boiling water. Mix and let cool. Add the honey and lime juice and mix. Set aside for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer, pressing with a spoon to extract as much flavor as possible.
3. Pour ¾ cup water into a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin powder over it. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add the strained honey and mix well.
4. Pour the coconut milk into a small pot and bring to an almost boil over medium-high heat. Pour it over the gelatin mix, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pot and bring to an almost boil, whisking constantly. Take off the heat and pour into a measuring jug. Keep in the jug until almost at room temperature, whisking occasionally (this prevents the gelatin from accumulating at the bottom).
5. Prepare 4 ramekins and divide the mixture between them. Let cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours and up to 2 days.
6. When ready to serve, place the ramekins in a bowl with warm water for a few seconds, (this step will make it easier to release the Panna Cotta from the ramekin), and turn them upside down over serving plates. Another option is to serve the Panna Cotta in the ramekins.
7. To serve: garnish with the sliced lime and drizzle the rest of the honey on top and around.