A restaurant-style dessert that can be done at home. This Italian Pandan Coconut Panna Cotta has velvety, smooth and soft texture with semi-sweet pandan infused flavor.
This pandan coconut panna cotta has always been important to me, this was the first dessert I’ve ever made in an actual professional kitchen. Back in 2014, I was so lucky to find a good, wonderful, and incredibly talented group of chefs/people/friends in a small town north of Austin, TX called Cedar Park. The two head chefs together with the rest of the team have taught me a lot of useful knowledge which I’m still using them as a strong foundation in my cooking life. If it weren’t for them, I would not be where I am right now. Gosh, how I miss them. Thai, Ek, David, Michael, Tim, Jessica, Tina, Kuantan, Alphonso, Tina, John, I wish you all know how much you all mean to me. Until today, I still remember every single details of our good time together. Can we turn back time and have ourselves run the last service day?
Anyhow, I can go on and on about how good we were back then and how the memory of working at Spin has been always significant to me. But this post is not about that right? It’s about how delicious and creamy these panna cotta are. The combination of pandan leaves and coconut milk creates such a smooth, velvety texture, and wonderful flavor. Not to mention the vibrant light green color that the pandan leaves bring to the table. You’ll have one of a kind dessert, so familiar yet so unique.
Ingredients used to make this panna cotta
- Mini muffin pans – you should use single mini muffin mold or silicon mold in order to remove the panna cotta easily.
- Gelatin sheets – I used platinum rank gelatin so keep this in mind if you are using different ranking of gelatin. Rules of thumb are: adding 2 more sheets if you are one ranking below.
- Platinum gelatin (230 bloom)
- Gold gelatin (200 bloom)
- Silver gelatin (170 bloom)
- Bronze gelatin (140 bloom)
- Titanium gelatin (120 bloom)
- Gelatin powder – If you can get a hand on gelatin sheets, they can be replaced by gelatin powder. 1 gelatin sheet equals 1 tsp gelatin powder.
Because of the usage of gelatin sheets, these panna cottas need time and space to set. So make sure you rearrange and save your most ‘quite’ space in your refrigerator for them. I would recommend your fridge’s top shelf where they can sit at least 6 hours, non-touch, and nothing can get into the liquid while waiting to set. I also recommend using gelatin sheet instead of gelatin powder. The sheets will give panna cotta smooth texture and more flavorful.
How to bloom gelatin sheets and gelatin powder?
In order to incorporate gelatin sheets seamlessly into any mixture, they need to be bloomed first. The correct way is to soak them in a bowl of cold water or ice water for few minutes (ideally 2-3 minutes). If you can squeeze them and get rid of excess water without they fall apart, then you have bloomed them right. If not, you need to throw them away and start a new batch. Don’t soak them in room temperature or warm water, they will immediately become over bloomed the moment they touch the water.
For gelatin powder, you need to sprinkle (do not pour) the powder on the surface of small amount of cold water. Ideally using 1 tbsp of cold water for every 1-2 tsp of gelatin powder.
When using both types of gelatin in a mixture, after bloomed, you need to dissolve them in hot liquid not boiling liquid. If gelatin is incorporated in boiling water, it will immediately loses its binding strength. Which makes the final product stays in its original liquid form and won’t have a pudding texture it supposed to be.
Velvety Pandan Coconut Panna Cotta
- 1 mini muffin pans or few plastic molds
- 1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl.oz)
- 10 oz heavy cream or half and half
- 5 sheet gelatin OR
- 1.5 tbsp gelatin powder
- 4 oz granulated sugar
- 6-8 pandan leaves washed, chopped
- 1/4-1/2 c water
- Bloom gelatin sheet (gelatin powder) in cold water.
- In a blender, combine chopped pandan leaves and 1/4 c of water. Put a blender on medium speed to blend the leave. Add more water if needed throughout the process, try not to exceed 1/2 c of water. In case you need more liquid to work with, gradually add extra 1 tbsp until all the leaves have blended well. Strain the liquid. Discard the leftover pandan pulp. Keep the green juice.
- In a medium pot, heat up cream, coconut milk, pandan leaves juice and sugar on medium heat, swirl constantly until sugar dissolve (simmer for about 6-10 minutes). Do not let the mixture boil or it will be separated.
- Take the pot off the stove. Squeeze excess water out of gelatin sheet then put them in the mixture. Stir the mixture until all the gelatin sheets dissolved.
- Strain coconut mixture through a fine sieve mesh. Then pour in mini muffin pans or any mold you have in your kitchen.
- Put them in the fridge to set for at least 6 hours before serving.
- When they’re ready, take them out of the mold or eat directly as you prefer. They can be served with candied nuts, and any kind of sweet tangy jam.
- Have fun and enjoy!