Coconut Milk Peach Panna Cotta

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Coconut Milk Peach Panna Cotta is a thick and creamy dessert flavored with freeze dried peaches, honey, and topped with fresh peach compote.  This is an easy small batch recipe that is made dairy free by using canned coconut milk.  A light and refreshing dessert, perfect to enjoy fresh summer peaches!

Coconut Milk Peach Panna Cotta

There is really only one way to describe Coconut Milk Peach Panna Cotta – an incredibly easy, creamy dessert.  It is essentially a sweetened cream that is thickened with gelatin. 

Very similar to pudding, but the differences between panna cotta and pudding are:

  • Gelatin makes the panna cotta set up – Whereas in pudding we rely on eggs and/or cornstarch to make it thick.
  • Only a couple of ingredients – Panna cotta only needs cream, sweetener, and gelatin.  Pudding (at least most of my pudding recipes!) requires milk and/or cream, sweetener, egg yolk, cornstarch, and butter.
  • It sets up firm enough to set in a mold, then invert onto a plate – If we tried to invert pudding onto a plate, it would be thick soup.  My Sweet Corn Panna Cotta was inverted onto a plate.
  • Panna cotta is extremely versatile when it comes to flavor – I say this because you can top it with just about any fruit, chocolate, or sauce of choice.  Additionally, freeze dried fruit works wonders to add flavor without compromising texture.  Sure, all of this can be true for pudding.  But this is a panna cotta post … 🙂

What Does Panna Cotta Taste Like?

You may be wondering because we use coconut milk as the base, does this Peach Panna Cotta dessert taste like coconut milk.  The easy answer is no.  Because we add honey and the freeze dried peaches, peach is your predominant flavor.

As for the texture of panna cotta – think of a Bavarian cream (similar to the raspberry cream in my Berry Mousse cake).  It is super creamy like pudding and a little thicker so it can stand on its own.  Not like jello though!

Ingredients on a table for peach panna cotta dessert

How To Use Coconut Milk To Make Dairy Free Panna Cotta

Now, if you have researched how to make panna cotta with coconut milk, chances are you have come across quite a few recipes and techniques.  But the predominant trick to making coconut panna cotta work, is to get the right coconut milk so your panna cotta doesn’t separateNobody wants separated panna cotta!

My tips for using coconut milk to make panna cotta

  1. Use unsweetened canned coconut milk (or cream) – The thick coconut cream is what makes this panna cotta thick and creamy!
  2. Use full fat canned coconut milk (or cream) – Even though we are going dairy free with this panna cotta, we still need the fat content to make it thick and creamy.
  3. The coconut milk needs to be homogenous – Meaning, that the coconut cream and liquid in the can have not separated.  It should be the consistency of thick Greek yogurt.
  4. To accomplish #3, look for canned coconut milk that has guar gum in it – Guar gum is an emulsifier and binds the coconut cream and liquid together.  Essentially, it makes the coconut milk thick and creamy.*
  5. You can shake the can of coconut milk – If you hear a lot of liquid sloshing around in the can, go ahead and give it a good shake.
  6. However, if #5 is true, I would try a different can – There may be just too much liquid and not enough coconut cream in the can to make this recipe work. 
  7. Do not use carton coconut milk – Full disclosure, I have not tested carton coconut milk.  Though, my hunch is that it won’t set up as firm, and you may end up with soupy panna cotta.
  8. Do not use cream of coconut – Cream of coconut is used for pina coladas.  It has a lot of added ingredients we don’t need or want.
  9. Not every can of coconut milk is identical – In my experience, no two cans are the same.  If you come across a can that has too much liquid, try another one.

Try these brands of canned coconut milk and/or creamGood and Gather (from Target, and the one I use), Simple Truth (from Kroger), or Thai Kitchen (grocery or Amazon).

*It is my duty to note that guar gum may cause digestive upset.  If you have an allergy or reaction to it, don’t use it.  You can try to make the recipe with canned coconut milk that does not contain guar gum, but I can’t say how it will turn out.

Close up of peach panna cotta on a spoon

What You Need To Make Coconut Milk Peach Panna Cotta

Ingredients

  • Unsweetened Canned Coconut MilkPlease read the previous section for tips on the can of coconut milk.  My go-to brand of coconut milk is from Target.  I always have success with it.  
  • Fresh Peaches – Fresh is always best, especially if in season!  But, if you want to make this Peach Panna Cotta out of season, frozen peaches will work fine for the compote.
  • Freeze Dried Peaches – I also find freeze dried peaches at target, but your grocery and even Amazon will have them.
  • Honey – Any sweetener of choice will work, but I like using honey because it is a natural sweetener, and the fruity floral flavor pairs wonderfully with the peaches.
  • Unflavored Gelatin – The gelatin is essential for making the panna cotta set up.
  • Salt – Just a tiny pinch of salt will amp up the flavors in the panna cotta.
  • Water – We use water to bloom the gelatin and make the peach compote.

Kitchen Equipment

  • Small Saucepan
  • Small Blender or Food Processor – To grind the freeze dried peaches to a powder.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer – You could certainly opt not to strain the panna cotta, but if you do, a smaller fine mesh strainer works great set over a liquid measuring cup.
  • Parfait Glasses or Ramekins – For this recipe, I just used the parfait glasses.  However, if you prefer to invert the panna cotta onto a dish, you will want to use 8 ounce ramekins.

Tips For Making Coconut Milk Peach Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta Tips

  • Read the section on coconut milk tips – I’ve included helpful information to ensure you have success making the panna cotta thick and creamy by using the right can of coconut milk.
  • Use freeze dried peaches to flavor the panna cotta – The peach powder will not alter the texture of consistency of the panna cotta.  Whereas trying to add fresh fruit into the panna cotta may.
  • Do not boil the coconut milk/cream – Only heat it until there are bubbles along the sides of the pan.
  • Strain the panna cotta – If you don’t want any lumps from the freeze dried peaches, strain the panna cotta through a fine mesh strainer.
  • If using, lightly grease the ramekins – If you are going to set the panna cotta in ramekins so you can invert it onto a plate, you’ll want to lightly grease the ramekins.  
  • Chill the panna cotta overnight – Especially if you want to invert it onto a plate.  Otherwise, you can check the consistency after about 4 hours.
  • Don’t cover the panna cotta – It will set fine overnight without a plastic cover.  Normally, I like to cover pudding with plastic wrap directly touching it.  But in the case of panna cotta, I don’t want it to stick.

Peach Compote Tips

  • Fresh peaches are always best for the peach compote – Especially if in season! 
  • Chop the peaches into bite size cubes – This way you can get an easy bite of peaches and panna cotta.
  • Cook the peaches until they are fork tender – The cook time to make your peach compote is dependent on how ripe your peaches are.  I like to make sure they are not too crunchy.
  • Mash the peaches – If you want more of a jam for the topping, give the peaches a little smash with a wooden spoon while they are cooking.
  • Chill the peach compote – The panna cotta will be chilled.  You want the peaches to be the same temp.
Close up of peach panna cotta topped with peach slices in a parfait glass

Common Questions For How To make Coconut Milk peach Panna Cotta

Can this recipe be doubled?

Yes. Technically this is a small batch recipe because it only serves 2 (or 4, depending on your serving size). But the recipe is easily doubled.

Can I make this panna cotta vegan?

I have seen recipes that swap the gelatin for agar agar, but I can’t offer guidance on how to use it. The honey can easily be swapped for any sweetener of choice.

Do I have to use freeze dried peaches to flavor the panna cotta?

You can omit the peach powder all together if you prefer. However, I don’t recommend trying to add peaches into the panna cotta. They may alter the final texture and the panna cotta may not set up all the way.

Are fresh peaches necessary to make the peach compote?

You can use frozen that have been thawed and drained. But, fresh is always best if in season!

Should I use a can of coconut milk or a can of coconut cream?

Either will work. Please reference the full section on how to use coconut milk to make the panna cotta.

Will carton coconut milk work?

I don’t think so.

My panna cotta separated. What did I do wrong?

Please reference the full section on how to use coconut milk to make panna cotta. Chances are, your coconut milk had too much liquid in it.

Do I really have to let the panna cotta chill overnight?

If you are inverting it onto a plate, yes. It needs time to set. If you are enjoying out of a parfait glass, check the consistency after about 4 hours.

I can’t get the panna cotta out of the ramekins?

First, make sure you lightly grease the ramekins. Then, when ready to invert onto a plate, gently run a sharp knife around the panna cotta to loosen it from the ramekin.

How long will the panna cotta stay firm?

In my experience, the panna cotta will start to ‘loosen’ after about 2 days.

Two peach panna cotta parfait desserts on a table

Looking For More Recipes Like This Peach Panna Cotta?

Peach panna cotta in a parfait glass set on a white plate

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Peach panna cotta topped with peach slices in a parfait glass set on a white plate
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Coconut Milk Peach Panna Cotta

Yield: 2 Servings
Coconut Milk Peach Panna Cotta is a thick and creamy dessert flavored with freeze dried peaches, honey, and topped with fresh peach compote.  This is an easy small batch recipe that is made dairy free by using canned coconut milk.  A light and refreshing dessert, perfect to enjoy fresh summer peaches!
Prep15 mins
Chill8 hrs
Total8 hrs 15 mins

Equipment

Ingredients

Peach Panna Cotta

Peach Compote

  • 1 cup fresh fresh peaches, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

Peach Panna Cotta

  • You can serve the panna cotta a couple of ways. 1. Chill in a ramekin then invert the panna cotta onto a plate. 2. Chill in parfait/serving glasses and serve straight from the glasses. If using ramekins – Very lightly grease the ramekins. I like to spray with baking spray then wipe the excess with a paper towel.
  • In a blender or food processor, grind the freeze dried peaches to get 1/3 cup of peach powder. Start with 2/3 cup of the freeze dried peaches.
  • In a small prep bowl, add the water. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the water, and let it bloom for about 5 minutes. It will become rubbery and firm.
  • While the gelatin is blooming – In a medium saucepan, add the coconut cream, honey, peach powder, and salt. Heat over medium heat until small bubbles start to form along the sides of the pan. By this time, the gelatin should be ready.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the gelatin. Stir the mixture until the gelatin melts into the cream.
  • Strain the panna cotta through a fine mesh strainer set over a liquid measuring cup (this makes it easier to pour into the ramekins/glasses).
  • Pour the panna cotta into your prepared serving glasses or ramekins. Chill the panna cotta, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight. If serving in the serving glasses, you can serve the panna cotta sooner. Check the panna cotta after at least 4 hours in the refrigerator to see if it has set up enough to serve.

Fresh Peach Compote

  • Cut the peaches into bite size cubes. Peeling the peaches is optional.
  • In a small saucepan, add the peach cubes, honey, and water. Heat over medium heat until the honey melts and the peaches start to soften and the liquid is thick and caramel-y. You can also lightly smash the peaches with a wooden spoon if you prefer more of a jam consistency. Transfer the peach compote to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Serving the panna cotta – 1. Plating from the ramekin – Run a sharp knife around the top edge of the panna cotta to loosen it from the ramekin. Invert the ramekin onto the the plate and give it a good bang to release it. Being careful not to break the plate! 2. Straight from the serving glass – no special steps for this!
  • Top the panna cotta with peach compote and a peach slice and Enjoy!
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Notes

Coconut Milk
  • The coconut milk must be a homogenous coconut milk – meaning there is little to no separation of the coconut cream and liquid.  The consistency should be like a thick Greek yogurt.
  • I find the canned coconut milk that has guar gum in it works best.  The guar gum is an emulsifier that keeps the coconut milk solid.  The product link is the brand I have the most luck with in all of my recipes.
  • The can of coconut milk does not need to be refrigerated overnight (most of my canned coconut milk recipes require this).  In the case of this panna cotta, we don’t want to achieve full separation of coconut cream and liquid in the can.
  • Canned coconut cream will also work.  Usually, cans of coconut cream will have a higher ratio of cream to liquid in the can.
  • If you hear liquid moving around in the can when you turn it upside down, give the can a good shake to mix it.  Or, try another can.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Erin Cernich

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