Panna Cotta, an Italian classic, might just be one of the simplest desserts you'll ever make and yet it's extremely versatile, lending itself to fun, seasonal variations and an infinite medley of fabulous flavor combinations. The basic ingredients are ordinary, usually just cream, milk, sugar and gelatin but to me, Panna Cotta is like a blank artist's pallet just waiting to be transformed into something lovely, magical and irresistible!
I had some key limes and coconut milk and decided to put together a tropical Panna Cotta. I used frozen berries to make a flavorful and pretty coulis (just a fancy name for a sauce of pureed fruits or vegetables) to compliment the silky smooth custard. I tried two fun serving variations; one in small, flat jelly jars and the other, a more traditional version, unmolded, served with fresh fruit and drizzled with the yummy coulis. If you're looking for a simple, delicious dessert that will be well received by young and old alike, give this delicious Key Lime and Coconut Milk Panna Cotta a try - you won't be disappointed!
P.S. Don't worry if you don't have Key limes - regular grocery store variety limes will work just fine!
Key Lime & Coconut Milk Panna Cotta w/ Mixed Berry Coulis
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup half and half
½ cup coconut milk
¾ cup sugar
1 package unflavored gelatin
1 teaspoon grated Key lime zest (or regular lime zest)
¼ cup fresh Key lime juice (or regular lime juice)
1. In a saucepan gently heat the cream. Add the sugar and gelatin. Once dissolved add the grated lime zest and juice. Bring the cream to a simmer and keep at low simmer for about 10 minutes to meld the flavors then pour into 6 ramekins. Place in the refrigerator to chill and set about 6 hours or overnight. Serve with Mixed Berry Coulis and top with a fresh fruit, if desired.
2. To unmold, place ramekins in very hot water for a moment. Run a small spatula around the sides to release. Turn onto a plate, with a vigorous motion if necessary.
Mixed Berry Coulis
1 12 ounce package frozen mixed berries
½ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liqueur, optional
1. Place berries and sugar in a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook on medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
2. Place in a blender or food processor and puree. Add Grand Marnier (if using) and lemon juice and strain mixture through a fine strainer. Taste and add a bit more sugar, if needed.