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3rd Time’s a Charm (almost) – Coconut Milk & Key Lime Panna Cotta


Update:  Recipe should have included 1/4 cup of sugar…correction made below!  

Apparently, I am a glutton for punishment…I tried again.

But wait, you say, that doesn’t look like a vanilla bean buttermilk panna cotta…why didn’t you attempt the same recipe?  Well, because I am difficult.  I figured something had to go my way if I made a completely different recipe that included no dairy whatsoever, right?  Hmmm…the answer is not as clear as one might think – yes and no.

Success…YES!  (as it did not separate).  And FAIL…it didn’t actually totally set…but I have only myself to blame for this one.

In “collaborating” (read: angrily discussing) with my brother who seems to end up with nothing but perfection when he makes panna cotta (all varieties, I might add) at his restaurant…he may have mentioned that the amount of gelatin can be tricky when using coconut milk.  What seemed to be like an extreme amount of gelatin…was apparently necessary.  I did not believe the recipe and (of course) thought I knew better…so this one is completely.my.fault!  There’s always room for a 4th or 5th or 27th attempt, right?

Nonetheless, it tasted spot on!  Recipe can be found here (see below)…and I recommend following the recipe to the letter…and I’m sure that your panna cotta will work out absolutely perfectly!  (mostly due to the fact that I am nowhere near your kitchen and therefore my luck (or lack thereof) will have absolutely no influence on your end-result!)  I repeat…follow the directions!

I searched and searched to find the recipe I used…and to no avail…so unfortunately…you won’t have the opportunity to make the exact recipe that I managed to flub up…so find your own.  Go, make panna cotta and succeed!

From my memory and photos….here is the recipe!

Key Lime Coconut Milk Panna Cotta
1 can (15 oz.) of Coconut milk
I packet of gelatin
2 tbsp.’s of fresh key lime juice
1 tsp. of key lime zest
1/4 cup of sugar 

Pour lime juice into the sauce pan and sprinkle in the gelatin.  (my recipe indicated an entire packet of gelatin should be used…but I (incorrectly) assumed that I would end of milk bricks if I added it all since I was using half the milk previous recipes had called for with the same amount of gelatin.  Once it is bloomed, add in the zest and stir around a bit to make sure it is completely dissolved.

Next add in the coconut milk and sugar; heat gently until you see bubbles forming and there is steam rising.  Make sure you continue to stir during the heating so the gelatin, lime juice and zest remain suspended in the mixture.

Remove from heat and pour into small dishes or ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set.  I pulled one out later that evening to try it.  Once again, we had guests and I was trying to avoid another big let-down of serving what appears to be a delicious panna cotta hiding a secret gelatin layer…or ending up a soupy disaster.

That evening, the panna cotta had not set and I convinced myself that it obviously needed some more time in the chiller.  I unmolded it in a shallow bowl and we all nibbled spoonfuls.  Flavor…perfect – refreshing, lime-y and not overly coconut-y.  Texture…too soft…a little like thin yogurt.

The next morning when I pulled one out and plated it, it was certainly more set than the previous evening…but not that heavenly texture that panna cotta should be!

I will not give up.  I will not give up.  I will not give up.

Stay tuned for attempt #4.  I believe everyone has a cooking nemesis…like Kryptonite for Superman…perhaps panna cotta is my kryptonite!

What is your culinary nemesis?

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