One of my favorite desserts is panna cotta, a creamy gelatin-based dessert originating from Northern Italy in Piedmont (possibly since the Middle-ages). Panna cotta translates to “cooked cream” in Italian. So delicious. If I see it on a dessert menu, I am most often going to order it! Light, yet creamy and rich-tasting. I like it even better than custard. I think it is about time that I tried to make this dessert! But I always like to play around with ingredients. Tweaking things is a fascination of mine. I just can’t help it even if a food experiment sometimes ends up as a mess or something not palatable at all. Luckily, this recent panna cotta experimentation was a success. Panna cotta should be fool-proof. As David Lebovitz says, “Panna cotta is incredibly easy to make, and if it takes you more than five minutes to put it together, you’re doing something wrong.”
There are some great dishes out in the blog world that celebrate spring and all its green-ness and vibrancy, so I thought I would chime in and do something with avocados as they are in season here. Creamy and rich, I thought it would be a nice parallel in panna cotta. So here’s a spring recipe contribution: avocado-coconut panna cotta.
Gelatin is a main component of panna cotta, though you can use agar-agar if you want to keep it vegan. Bloom it in some cold non-dairy or dairy milk, whichever you prefer.
Making this dessert also involves scalding milk and cream together with sugar. I used coconut cream, but heavy dairy cream or some of these vegan substitutions would be great too for a coconut-less version. If you use coconut milk as the milk component in addition to the coconut cream, it will be really coconut-ty, so use a milk other than that (unless you want it really intensely coconut flavored).
Photo credit: spiceboxwhisky.com
Spicebox Canadian spiced whisky is an optional ingredient. I like the bit of vibrant flavor that it brings in with the avocado and coconut. You could also add a pinch of cinnamon as a substitute for the spiced whisky.
I love this raw honey from Trader Joe’s. It’s very flavorful, so don’t use too much, just 1-2 teaspoons in this recipe. But it’s optional as well.
Some blender action with the avocado puree. An immersion blender would be better to use because it is easier and faster to get the puree out. It took a bit of time to get it out of the blender pitcher. A teaspoon of lemon juice helps to prevent from browning, but don’t go overboard with it to make it too sour. The puree gets whisked in with the cream/gelatin mixture. Make the puree right when you are ready to whisk it in. Don’t do it ahead of time because it can brown relatively rapidly.
This avocado saver is a must if you love to eat avocados. I can only eat up to a half of one at a time, so this comes in very handy. 😀
For the molds, I used silicone cupcake liners. I like the portion size on these, but feel free to use whatever mold you want such as ramekins or a single mold. If you plan to unmold them, I like to spray some oil on it to make it easier to get out. Make sure to wrap them tightly with plastic wrap since avocados brown because of exposure to air.
Eat it in the cup plain…or…
…plop it on a plate…or…
…put some toppings on! I felt like a couple of avocado pieces, chocolate sauce and chopped cashews. 🙂
Avocado-Coconut Panna Cotta
~Half-dozen cupcake-sized servings
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (or 1 teaspoon agar-agar)
- 1/4 cup cold almond milk (alternatives: dairy, soy, hemp, pistachio, or your favorite milk will be fine, though coconut milk will result in a really intense coconut flavor)
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice
- 1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ~2 tablespoons Spicebox spiced Canadian whisky (optional)
- 1 Haas avocado
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Various toppings: chocolate sauce, chopped nuts, coconut, avocado, fruit sauce, etc.
- Bloom the gelatin: dissolve gelatin or agar-agar in half of the cold milk. Mix, set aside and let thicken for a few minutes.
- On medium-low heat in a small saucepan, whisk the remaining milk, coconut cream, 1 tablespoon of the evaporated cane juice, raw honey, salt, and spiced whisky. Heat this mixture until scalded or just before it comes to a simmer, which should be 180 degrees F.
- Add the gelatin mixture and whisk until combined. Remove from heat and set aside to cool until lukewarm.
- Using a food processor, immersion blender, or other type of blender, puree the avocado, remaining 1 tablespoon of evaporated cane juice and lemon juice together until smooth.
- Whisk this avocado mixture to the scalded cream/gelatin mixture. Strain through a sieve and pour into molds. Wrap well with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Un-mold or serve in cups with toppings.
Note: If using silicone cupcake molds, spray with cooking oil before pouring in the panna cotta mixture so that it is easier to unmold.
I grew up having avocado “milkshakes” (with some avocado chunks too) when the weather was warmer and this avocado-coconut panna cotta kind of reminds me of it. Takes me back to those days when my mom would open up a can of evaporated milk and my dad would get the avocados ready for those green milkshakes. It’s a nice remix of a childhood favorite.
- Why Panna Cotta Is the Perfect Dessert (thekitchn.com)
- Easter Sweets: Butterfinger Panna Cotta with Easter Egg Nests (nestleusa.wordpress.com)
- Honey Almond Panna Cotta – A guest post on Anita’s blog (gattusjournal.wordpress.com)
- Earl Grey Panna Cotta w Spicy Peach (foodandmusicpassingby.wordpress.com)
- Chocolate Panna Cotta (dessertcrisis.wordpress.com)
G’day and what an interesting combination re panna cotta…
What’s On The List?
Really yummy! Thank you Joanne 🙂
That looks super healthy and super yummy! Perfect for warm days now. Love it!
Thanks. I think it is relatively healthy for a dessert, with enough sweetness 😉
I love avocado and panna cotta ,this dessert is for me hahah
Glad to share it with you 😀
Another wonderful creation! Looks refreshing and light, perfect for the season.
You will love panna cotta. I will make it for you in a few weeks.
That is so pretty 🙂 I bought an avocado on sale last week, without knowing what I was going to do with it. Now I do!
It did turn out with a lovely color. It’s pretty easy to whip up and you can use whatever type of cream and milk you want or have on hand, so it is convenient. I hope you enjoy it!
I am totally getting one of those avocado savers! Your recipe looks amazing 🙂
Thank you 😀 I ordered mine on amazon.
It looks so delicious! And what a lovely colour too!
Thank you Nell. It was very delicious and silky.
Mmmm sounds SO GOOD! I heart anything avocado big-time!
Thanks. Yay for avocados! 😀
To think I’ve only ever eaten avocado in salad and guacamole! Shame on me for admitting that. And I’ve never had panna cotta. If tiramisu is on the menu then I always have that.
Tiramisu is another one of my favorite desserts. I think I have too many favorites, haha. I love guacamole too. Now I think I’ll have some avocado in my lunch!
This looks divine! Thanks for the vegan option!
Thanks for the kind words 🙂 I think the vegan version tastes better!
I can’t wait to try! I’ve got to heal from knee surgery before noodling around the kitchen though! I’ve posted this on my FB page to the delight of my “friends” and can’t wait to try when I’m healed!
This is great. Dessert with protein. Wow awesome. I pinned this also to my Pinterest page: http://pinterest.com/savorthefood/desserts/ .
Thanks for sharing your Food Creation!!
Thanks Randall. Yep, protein-packed and just a bit of sugar 😀
Oh man Samantha, this looks awesome. Never thought to incorporate avocado into panna cotta! I guess it’s like the same concept of an avo smoothie 😀 And I love the little kick of coconut. Well done, madame!
This looks totally amazing. Great recipe!
Thanks. It took me a couple tries, because I put too much avocado at first and it turned brown faster. Just the right amount of avocado now 🙂
That’s an unusual combination. But it does look very trial-worthy. Thanks for sharing this recipe. A salsa sandwich is just about the extent of my adventures with Avocados, but to be fair, they are a new entity to us Indians. Shall definitely give this a try.
Sounds great! Thanks for the kind words. I think avocados are my new favorite fruit!
How beautiful Samantha! I love avocado and this recipe looks delicious!!
Thanks Lidia 😀 Though I love guacamole, I’m learning that avocado is a great all-around fruit for savory and sweet applications. 🙂
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Have I told you how awesome your blog is! You come up with some AMAZING dishes that look great enough to eat through the screen! Keep them coming girlfriend 🙂
Very sweet comment. I appreciate it. I am inspired by reading other blogs, including yours! Blogging and being apart of the great blogosphere is so fun. I always learn something new and that also inspires me. I will keep the posts coming as long as I can. 🙂
This sounds delicious!!! You have some amazing recipes on your blog. Thanks for liking my recent post!
Thank you Frances 🙂 You have some beautiful creations. Looking forward to more of your posts.
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