Flourless desserts are my weak spot. If I spot crème brûlée on a restaurant menu, I only rarely pass it up! Panna Cotta is my stand-by when we have guests. It looks sophisticated, but is fairly simple to make.
I love how easily you can swap out the flavors based on the holiday or season. This is my Christmas version with a fresh pomegranate layer and a mint garnish!
Don’t skimp on the mint garnish here, it not only adds the perfect hint of green, but it also adds a pleasant layer of complexity to the dessert. I thought about adding it to the coconut cream layer too, but there was something special about just getting that one little bite with mint.
I made the pomegranate layer with fresh pomegranates, based on a sauce I spotted in the new cookbook, Mediterranean Paleo. Big thanks to Caitlin for letting me adapt her method and share it with you here!
I did test it with the store-bought Pom juice, so I could include an easy modification. But, the color was no where near as vibrant and the flavor didn’t compare. I highly recommend making the fresh pomegranate layer. It is surprisingly simple to make!
My “secret” ingredient in this recipe and most of my dairy-free recipes is THIS coconut cream, instead of coconut milk. It makes for a more creamy dessert. I even use it in Paleo baking for more moist cakes and muffins.
Pomegranate Panna Cotta (dairy-free)
Coconut Cream Layer
1 tablespoon gelatin (I recommend this brand because it is from grass-fed cows)
1 cup coconut milk (Homemade or I like this brand and this brand).
3 cups coconut cream (I used this kind)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
- Place the coconut milk in a small bowl and add the gelatin to it. Stir to combine and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Heat a medium sized heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the coconut cream, honey and vanilla. Whisk until the honey is dissolved and the mixture is well combined. About 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the milk and gelatin mixture to the saucepan and vigorously whisk until well combined and the gelatin has dissolved. Make sure the mixture does not come to a boil. About 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the lime juice and the lime zest.
- Pour the mixture evenly into individual serving glasses. Allow it to sit on the counter top to cool slightly.
- Refrigerate until set, 6 to 8 hours.
Adapted from Mediterranean Paleo
This layer is added once the coconut cream layer has set. Wait at least 4 hours (or preferably overnight) to add the pomegranate layer.
1.5 cups pomegranate seeds (seeds from about 1.5-2 pomegranates, you can also cheat and by the seeds already separated at places like Trader Joe’s)
2 cups filtered water
1 teaspoon honey
3 teaspoons gelatin (I recommend this brand because it is from grass-fed cows)
small fresh mint leaves for garnish
24 whole pomegranate seeds for garnish
- Place the seeds in a medium sized saucepan and cover with the 2 cups of water. Bring the heat to medium and cook the pomegranate seeds uncovered for about 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, if the water is getting close to boiling, bring the temperature down.
- Place the seeds through a mesh strainer. Use a wooden spoon and press down on the seeds to get more of the juice out. Once it seems like there is no more juice left in the seeds, discard the seeds and put the juice back into the sauce pan.
- Bring the heat to medium, add the honey and whisk until completely dissolved. Once the honey is dissolved, add the gelatin and whisk vigorously until the gelatin is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure the mixture does not come to a boil.
- Pour the mixture into another container and leave it out on the counter top and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. If you pour it into the cups with the coconut cream warm, it might become murky, as it will mix with the cream layer.
- Once the pomegranate mixture is cool, pour it over the cream mixture until it forms a thin layer of red. Once all of the servings are covered with the pomegranate layer, set them in the fridge and allow them to set, about 4 hours.
- Once they are set, garnish them with mint and pomegranate and serve.
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