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Toasted coconut panna cotta

Dessert has been pretty scarce around our house lately with me trying to give up processed sugar but we all need to indulge once in awhile.  With Valentines Day coming up I just had to come up with something pretty and tasty to celebrate the holiday.   I know that chocolate on Valentine’s Day is the tradition but I wanted something fresh and light.

This panna cotta comes together in a manner of minutes and needs to chill for at least 4 hours, so it’s perfect to make the day before so you can focus on enjoying time with your special someone instead of slaving over a hot stove.

As an added benefit it’s dairy free and vegan.  Coconut milk lends a creamy richness and amazing flavor and is perfect if you have any vegetarians to please.  The recipe call for Agar agar, it is derived from a wild sea vegetable, is odorless and tasteless but can be used in any recipe that calls for gelatin.  If you can’t find agar agar, gelatin will work equally well, it just won't be vegan.  The pomegranates and lime add a nice tartness to the toasted coconut.

We should all celebrate every day we have with our loved ones, but it is nice to connect and reflect on what brings us together.  Food is one of the best ways I know to show my family and friends that I care and I hope they enjoy eating as much as I enjoy cooking for them.  If you are looking for some other sweet inspirations visit me at www.scalingbackblog.com

Toasted coconut panna cotta 

½ cup shaved coconut

1 can coconut milk (15 ounces)

¼ cup sugar

½ vanilla bean

1 teaspoon agar agar or 1½ teaspoons gelatin

2 tablespoons cold water


Pomegranate syrup

2 tablespoons sugar

½ cup pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons water

½ vanilla bean

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds for serving


For the panna cotta: 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the coconut on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake, stirring once or twice, until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl sprinkle the agar agar or gelatin over the water and stir.  Set aside to

let the gelatin bloom. 

In a small saucepan heat the coconut milk, sugar, toasted coconut and vanilla bean and bring to a boil.  Whisk in the agar agar mixture and continue to boil for one minute.  Strain the coconut milk into a mixing bowl.

Divide the coconut mixture evenly into three serving containers and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.

To serve, spoon a tablespoon of the pomegranate syrup on top of the panna cotta and garnish with a few pomegranate seeds.


For the sauce:

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and place in a small saucepan.  Add the sugar, pomegranate seeds, and water to the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.  Cook for five minutes until the syrup has taken on some color and coats the back of a spoon.  Add the lime juice and set aside to cool. 

Reader Comments (13)

Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts!
I will need to try making this, with gelatin instead of the agar agar (unfortunately, I am deathly allergic to fish! So anything out of the ocean or sea is not an option).
The images are stunning with the white and pinkish red

February 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCallie Grayson

this looks so delicious !
my daughter loves pomegranate & pannacottas (which i make using agar-agar coupled with arrow-root / for more softness) and since she has type2 diabetes, she will benefit from the use of coconut milk ( less carbs than regular dairy milk) thank you for sharing !
ps : these photos are to die for !!!

Looks awesome and perfectly matchs to my allergies and my vegetarian life. Thank you for sharing!

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHanna

I've tried this, unfortunately toasted coconut shavings give the caramel like color to the milk... I thought it would be more pure white. However it tasted great.

February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKudesnitsa

Can this be made a day ahead of serving?

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

Hi Rachel,

This can be made a day ahead of time, top it with the syrup and pomegranates right before serving.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTina Jeffers

Hi Kudesnitsa,

Sorry to hear that your coconut turned your mixture brown. My mixture had a little bit of color but you can see stayed pretty white once I strained it. Maybe you used sweetened coconut? I'm glad to hear that it tasted good!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTina Jeffers

Wow, that looks seriously delicious.. My mom makes this pomegranate syrup all the time but this coconut panna cotta seem like the perfect pairing to it!

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEleni

This looks so good and it's wonderful that it is not made with dairy so therefore I will be trying this out the weekend ! miam miam !

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChrissi Holt

Hey If you don't have vanilla bean can you use vanilla flavoring?

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHEather

I found this post though Pinterest. The photo was so beautiful that I just had to come here to read the recipe! Love it! And love your site :-).

I would like to invite you to share this post (and your other posts :-) ) on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched in May. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author's site.

It's called RecipeNewZ (with Z) - http://recipenewz.com

I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board :-)

June 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRecipeNewZ

Where is the floating console from in the third to last image? I love the simplicity and practicality. –– Thank you.

http://ruangkeluargaku.blogspot.com/2013/08/cipto-junaedy-penulis-gramedia-mega.html Gramedia Mega Bestseller

September 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCipto Junaedy

This looks so good. I will have to make this for my mom because she is a big coconut and pomegranite lover. Thank you can't wait to try.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

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