Panna cotta = cooked cream

29 Jan

Apparently in Italian panna cotta simply means ‘cooked cream’ … rather uninspiring really, luckily it sounds good in Italian.

Although boring in its translation, at least when it’s made in Australia it tastes no less amazing (Well actually…1. I don’t know this for fact as I’ve never actually been to Italy. 2. As it is an Italian dessert it probably is made better in its home country. 3. What food isn’t going to taste better in Italy…I mean…it’s Italy!).

Regardless, it does taste wonderfully good (given a good recipe of course).

Since studying to be a pastry chef at William Angliss Institute, one of my most favourite recipes (that is very easy, and very doable at home) that we’ve made in class has been a coconut panna cotta with a pineapple and banana confit. So when deciding what to cook for my Dad’s 50th party (which is tomorrow night), I simpy had to make it (minus the confit as we opted for the low fuss option of serving it with berries).

And here is the recipe… (as I’m taking this straight from my TAFE recipe book, it serves around 20 (non-greedy) people)

1200ml cream

400ml milk

200gm desiccated coconut

250gm caster sugar

11 leaves of gelatine (no one on the internet seems to agree on the conversion from gelatin leaves to powder, but go with just over a gram per leaf)

320ml coconut milk

80ml Malibu rum (If you don’t have this, just use extra coconut milk)


– Toast the coconut (but not in the toaster…hehe), either do it on the stove top in a saucpan or on a baking tray in the oven. Toast it till it’s a golden brown colour (it will smell amazing).

– Add the coconut, sugar, cream and milk into a saucpan and bring to the boil (stir a little).

– Remove it from the heat. Strain about a cup of liquid into a large bowl and whisk in the gelatin (if you’re using gelatin leaves make sure you soak them in cold water first). Allow the rest of the mixture to sit in the saucepan for around 20 minutes to infuse the coconut flavour.

– Strain the rest of the mixture into the gelatin mix and combine.

– Add the Malibu and the coconut milk and mix.

– Allow the mixture to cool and then pour into moulds (the best molds to use are dariole molds because then the panna cotta can be removed from the mold and sit freely on a plate…but I sadly don’t own any so I just used little plastic cups. I’ve also used glass wine glasses before and they looked quite lovely in them)

– Refridgerate till set (they’ll probably take at the very least, 3 hours to set)

– They taste best served with fruit of some description.

When we made it for the William Angliss Bistro, we served it with a pineapple and banana confit (which is amazing) and deep fried wontons coated in cinnamon sugar…lovely.

Here’s the recipe for the confit.

100gm caster sugar

30ml water

300gm pineapple (chopped a similar size to the banana rounds)

1/2 vanilla bean

300gm banana (chopped into circles)

– Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar, increase the heat a little and bring to the boil (don’t stir, but brush down the sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization).

– Cook the sugar till it is light caramel in colour and add the vanilla bean.

– Add the pineapple and cook over heat till it becomes a bit translucent.

– After adding the pineapple the sugar mix might become all crystallized…don’t worry, keep stirring it will eventually go away.

– Remove from heat and add the banana…stir.

– Cool mixture and serve it with the panna cotta.



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