Panna Cotta (Italian for “Cooked Cream”) is a delicious dessert that originated in northern Italy. It is made from simmering a mixture of cream, milk and sugar and then adding gelatin and chilling until set.
I found one source that said that the traditional Italian Panna Cotta Recipe was made by simmering cream with fish bones so that the gelatin in the fish bones would cause the cream to gel. Modern recipes almost always use Gelatin (this is the one I use) but the textures and flavors can vary depending on ingredients used.
A Healthy, Dairy-Free Panna Cotta Recipe
Panna Cotta is always gluten free grain free, but I wanted to find a dairy-free version as well. For this recipe, I used my homemade almond milk and homemade coconut milk, though store bought versions will work as well.
I sweetened this Panna Cotta Recipe with maple syrup and raw honey, though either one could be used alone or other sweeteners like coconut sugar or even stevia could be used as well.
I served this topped with fresh berries since berries are in season and easily available at the farmers market, but any seasonal fruit or other topping would work. Some toppings I’ve seen on Panna Cotta in restaurants:
- Homemade chocolate sauce
- Various fruit sauces
- Caramel sauce
- Grated chocolate and nuts
I love that this Panna Cotta Recipe can be lightly sweetened, just fruit sweetened or even completely unsweetened. The gelatin with fresh milks creates a silk-like texture that is a kid and adult favorite in our house. This recipe presents well and is excellent for formal gatherings but is also incredibly simple to make and perfect for a week-night treat.
I’ve even made this for birthdays before in place of cake or ice cream and it was a hit!
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 cups almond milk
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon unflavored Gelatin
- 3 Tablespoons Raw Honey
- 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Toppings of choice
- Pour the milks in to a medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over it. Gently whisk in Gelatin and wait 5 minutes before turning on the heat to allow the gelatin to soften.
- Add honey and maple syrup and vanilla. Turn on medium heat and heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until milk is hot enough to steam. Do not boil as this will deactivate the gelling properties of the gelatin.
- Lightly grease small bowls or molds with coconut oil and pour the heated mixture in tot he bowls. Cover and place in the fridge for 5-6 hour or overnight.
- Serve in bowls or gently turn them upside down on to a place and add toppings.
Coconut milk or almond milk may be used, just use 4 cups of milk total. Dairy milk works well for this recipe as well.
Make sure that the Gelatin is actual gelatin and not collagen hydrolysate/collagen peptides or it will not gel.
Honey or maple syrup can be used alone or left out completely. Fresh fruit puree can also be used for natural sweetness.
Have you ever made Panna Cotta? How was it? Share below!