Super creamy and very flavorful are all I can say about these Christmas chocolate panna cotta made with pandan leaves. From everyday dessert to elegant Christmas dessert, this unique Italian panna cotta recipe can satisfy all your needs.
This beautiful chocolate pandan panna cotta is a sister recipe of this pandan coconut panna cotta and this creamy coconut panna cotta. Yup, I am obsessed with pandan leaves and everything related to them.
Don't get intimidated by the green color of this panna cotta. It is 100% natural and made from the famous Asian plant called pandan leaves.
What are pandan leaves?
Pandan leaves, commonly known as pandan, are widely popular in Southeast Asia.
These leaves have unique fragrances and colors, making them the first choice for natural flavoring or coloring food.
They lend unique, aromatic, vibrant colors to desserts, drinks, and other savory dishes.
If you're looking for a pandan leaves recipe, this Christmas chocolate panna cotta is perfect.
What to love about this recipe?
As mentioned above, this creamy and delicious Italian panna cotta is a perfect elegant Christmas dessert idea due to its unique look.
However, don't limit this gorgeous dessert for holidays or Christmas occasions only.
This pandan leaves recipe can used for any occasion.
Go for it, or you want to show your creativity and cooking skills. People will love it.
Pandan leaves - You can buy them fresh, dry, or frozen from any Asian market (or Amazon).
Gelatin sheets - I prefer using gelatin sheets over gelatin powder. You can read more info about gelatin sheets/gelatin powder types and how to use them here.
- I'm using Gold gelatin sheets in this chocolate pandan panna cotta recipe.
Heavy cream and milk - do not substitute cream for milk or half and half. I repeat, do not substitute. The appearance of heavy cream in this panna cotta recipe is the reason to make it super creamy.
- If you want super-rich panna cotta, substitute milk with the same amount.
Sugar - I used just enough sugar to add sweetness to this dessert. So, to some people, it might not be sweet enough. You're welcome to adjust the sugar level based on your references.
- Remember that the chocolate ganache will also add sweetness to the panna cotta.
Chocolate chips - make chocolate ganache and pour it on top of panna cotta to create such a Christmas tree effect
How to make chocolate ganache
You'll need to set up a bain-marie or a double boiler to make this ganache successfully. If you own a bain-marie, well, then this process is easy.
If not, don't worry; you can always improvise. Just use a regular pot and fill it halfway with water. Then, put a mixing bowl on top of it. And make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water when it is boiling.
The process of making chocolate ganache includes:
- Combine heavy cream and chocolate chip and melt it over a double boiler.
- Adjust the heat so boiling water doesn't touch the bowl's bottom.
- Remove the mixture from the heat source and gradually add unsalted butter to melt.
- If the ganache starts cooling down, making it harder to melt butter, return the mixture to a double boiler for a few seconds.
How to make Christmas chocolate panna cotta
Roughly chop pandan leaves. In a blender, add chopped pandan leaves and water. Blend on high speed until pandan leaves completely blended, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
Use a sieve and strain the liquid. Use a spoon and press as much water as possible from pandan's leftover pulp. Keep the liquid and pulp separately.
Bloom gelatin sheets in ice-cold water for 1 minute or until all the sheets are soft.
Combine cream, milk, sugar, and pandan juice in a medium saucepan. Put pandan leftover pulp in a cooking sachet bag or tightly in a coffee filter (this step is optional). Heat the pan on medium heat (you'll see bubbles appear on the edge of the pot). Stir occasionally until sugar dissolves completely and the mixture starts to simmer.
Do not let the mixture boil, or it will be separated. Discard the pandan pulp (if used).
Squeeze excess water from the gelatin sheet, then put it in the mixture. Stir the mixture until all the gelatin sheets dissolve entirely. Take the pan off the stove immediately.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve mesh, then spoon it into molds. Let the panna cotta cool down at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Then, put them into the fridge to set for at least 6 hours, uncover or partially cover.
Here are recipes that this Italian panna cotta recipe can inspire:
- No churn chocolate chip ice cream in Mason jar
- Chocolate yule log cake
- Chewy chocolate chip cooking
- 33 creative Christmas desserts
- 31 awesome Thanksgiving desserts
Christmas Chocolate Panna Cotta
- 4-oz plastic or silicon mold
For panna cotta
- 2 c heavy cream
- 1 c milk
- 7 sheet gelatin or 2 tbsp gelatin powder
- 3 oz sugar
- ½ c water
- 1.5 oz pandan leaves ~ 10 to 15 leaves
- ½ c dark chocolate chip
- ½ c heavy cream
- 1 oz unsalted butter cut into small cubes, leave at room temperature
- mint leaves
- fresh fruit: grapes, raspberry, blueberry
For panna cotta
- Roughly chop pandan leaves. In a blender, add chopped pandan leaves and water. Blend on high speed until pandan leaves completely blended, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.1.5 oz pandan leaves, ½ c water
- Use a sieve and strain the liquid. Use a spoon and press as much water as possible from pandan's leftover pulp. Keep the liquid and pulp separately.
- Bloom gelatin sheets in ice-cold water.7 sheet gelatin
- Combine cream, milk, sugar, and pandan juice in a medium saucepan. Put pandan leftover pulp in a cooking sachet bag or tightly in a coffee filter (this step is optional).2 c heavy cream, 1 c milk, 3 oz sugar
- Heat the pan on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar dissolves completely and the mixture starts to simmer.
- Do not let the mixture boil, or it will be separated. Discard the pandan pulp.
- Squeeze excess water from the gelatin sheet, then dissolve it in the mixture. Stir the mixture until all the gelatin sheets dissolved completely. Take the pan off the stove immediately.
- Lightly spray cooking oil inside the molds.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve mesh, then spoon it into molds. Let the panna cotta cool down at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then, put them into the fridge to set for for at least 6 hours, uncover or partially cover.
- When the panna cotta is wholly set, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. The panna cotta can be kept under refrigeration for up to 4 days.
For chocolate ganache
- Set up a double boiler: a medium pot filled halfway with water and a mixing bowl on top. The bottom of the mixing bowl should not touch the water when it's boiling.
- Add chocolate chips and heavy cream to a mixing bowl and melt over boiling water. Stir occasionally.½ c dark chocolate chip, ½ c heavy cream
- Take the mixing bowl off the heat when the chocolate chips are melted completely. Add butter cubes to the mixture, one at a time, and stir to incorporate the butter with the chocolate mixture.1 oz unsalted butter
- Continue to work through the last piece of butter cubes. If the chocolate mixture starts cooling down, return it to the boiling pot for a few seconds before adding more butter.
- Store the ganache in an airtight container. It can be kept for up to 4 days under refrigeration.
- Unmold panna cotta and carefully pour enough chocolate ganache on top. Add your favorite fresh fruit and mint leaves for garnish. Enjoy!mint leaves, fresh fruit: grapes, raspberry, blueberry
- Heat chocolate ganache in a microwave for 10 to 15 seconds if it thickens after refrigeration.
- If you're using gelatin powder, please read the detailed guide to blooming it here.