Coconut Panna Cotta

A coconut panna cotta topped with peanut brittle crunch on a white plate.

Coconut milk and heavy cream combine into a wobbly and luscious coconut panna cotta dessert topped with a sweet, nutty crunch. The brittle is also especially good when made with macadamia nuts in place of peanuts.–Food Network Kitchen

LC What Folks Are Saying About This Recipe Note

“Absolutely delicious.” “This is really very dangerous.” “No work at all for such a spectacular result.” “Lovely and smooth and soft.” “I’m in love!” “The easiest panna cotta I have made.” “So gosh darned good I had three of these coconut panna cotta, one after another, and my hand is hovering over the fourth.” That’s what folks are saying about this coconut panna cotta recipe.

Coconut Panna Cotta

  • Quick Glance
  • (5)
  • 15 M
  • 4 H, 10 M
  • Serves 8
4/5 - 5 reviews
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Special Equipment: Eight 4-ounce ramekins

Ingredients

  • For the coconut panna cotta
  • For the candied peanut brittle

Directions

Make the panna cotta

Pour the water in a shallow bowl, sprinkle with the gelatin, and let stand until the gelatin softens, about 2 minutes.

Slick eight 4-ounce ramekins with oil.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the coconut milk, cream, sugar, and a pinch salt until hot but not simmering. Add the softened gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved.

Divide the panna cotta among the prepared ramekins, straining it if desired. Place in a roasting pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours and preferably 12 hours.

Candy the peanuts

While the panna cotta is in the fridge, place a long sheet of aluminum foil alongside the stovetop. Iin a heavy skillet over medium heat, mix the sugar with 3 to 4 teaspoons water. You want it to achieve the consistency of wet sand. Cook, occasionally tilting the skillet to swirl the mixture to ensure even browning, until the sugar is a deep caramel color, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not stir the mixture. Working very quickly, remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the peanuts, and immediately pour it onto the foil and let it spill out into a flat amorphous blob. Let cool completely.

To serve

When ready to serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin, then invert the panna cotta onto serving plates. Coarsely chop or finely crush the peanut brittle and sprinkle it over the coconut panna cotta.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Have you ever had something that was just so gosh darned good that you couldn’t stop at one? Well, I had three of these coconut panna cotta, one after another, and my hand is hovering over the fourth. The first panna cotta was purely for testing purposes—ahem, you know, to check the consistency and the ease of removal from the ramekin.The second was to test the lovely molded cream with the peanut brittle. You have to the test the complete recipe, right? The third? Well, I had some fresh blueberries and local honey and thought the combination may make a nice variation—and it did. I’m wondering now about a dribble of this hot chocolate sauce. The coconut is such a light flavor, it pairs with endless toppings. If you opt for the peanut brittle topping, be sure and watch that caramel. Depending on your stove and the size of your pot, it could be done in as little as 5 minutes. I found that I liked the peanut brittle crushed a bit before sprinkling over the panna cotta.

This may be the easiest panna cotta I have made. This is a lovely, rich panna cotta. The flavor of the coconut comes through so well with just the coconut milk and no need for extract. I took this to a summer gathering and made the candied peanut brittle and also offered chopped pistachio nuts as an alternative topping. The brittle disappeared so quickly I barely got some for myself as it was passed around the table. 

Because I was making this to transport to a dinner party, I made the panna cotta in little glass jars (they were 5 ounces each so I filled them not quite to the top) and I filled a single 4-ounce ramekin to test how easily the panna cotta would turn out of the vessel. Everyone devoured them. 

When making the brittle, I may have been overly cautious, working at a lower heat so it took a little longer to caramelize, but it all worked fine. (I am careful around hot sugar. I had a brittle-making accident years ago and I have not forgotten the sugar burn.) I used a very heavy stainless-steel skillet. I might try roughly chopping the nuts before making the brittle to get smaller pieces and let it spread out. I had unsalted peanuts when I shelled them, so I sprinkled a bit of Maldon sea salt flakes on top and would definitely do that again.

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Comments

  1. So many panna cotta recipes I found were dairy-free, and I wanted the texture of the cream. Tried this one and was not disappointed. Delicious, and easy! I put fresh kiwi on top rather than the brittle. Will definitely make this again!

    1. Magnificent, Stacie! So glad you like this recipe as much as we do! We test all our recipes over and over and over again before deciding whether or not to share them with our readers, and only the recipes that are most fabulous and flawless make it onto the site, so you can trust the recipes you find here!

  2. I made the panna cotta, which was fabulous, but not the brittle. Instead I made a salty-sweet coconut cream (what you’d get in a Thai restaurant along side sticky rice… Coconut milk, thickened with cornstarch and given a healthy dose of salt along with the sugar), which I served warm alongside the cold panna cotta. Topped with toasted black sesame seeds and roasted coconut chips (a Trader Joe’s product!) and this was mind-blowingly good. An elegant dessert, sophisticated flavor profile, and visually striking to boot!

    1. Charlotte, I love how you tweaked this, thanks so much for sharing your inspiration so that others can try it this way, too! As for the panna cotta itself, so glad to hear you love it as much as we do!

  3. I loved the flavor of this dessert (reminded me of Haupia!) but I had an issue with some separation after the panna cotta set up (cream rising to top and a distinct less white, more clear looking bottom layer. What do you think may have caused this?

    1. Luisa, thanks for taking the time to let us know. We’ve made this many times in several different kitchens and haven’t had this happen so let me try to troubleshoot what you experienced. Can you tell me what brand of coconut milk you used? Was it full-fat or low-fat? And do you know, does it contain stabilizers (such as a gum of some sort like guar gum)?

  4. This panna cotta is well known in Brazil due to the easy availability of coconut milk…but here is a tip: folks here normally top it with a passionflower fruit syrup. Give it a try because it is very good and refreshing, especially in summer. Here is a video on how to make this passionflower fruit syrup topping that can be used in distinct desserts alike.

    Ingredients:
    pulp & juice of a medium Passionflower fruit
    1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
    1/4 cup of water
    1 tbsp of tapioca starch or corn starch

    see here how to prepare.

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