If you are dairy-free this recipe is for you! I love panna cotta, an Italian dessert that is so easy to make. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to allow the panna cotta to set. Traditional panna cotta calls for cream and milk but today I decided to try using coconut milk for all my dairy-free friends. My husband loved it and that’s usually my test guide! I created a delicious reduction sauce to pour over the top made from the juice of blood oranges, brandy, honey and a pinch of cinnamon. This is a perfect dessert to serve guests. It looks impressive, even though it is relatively easy.
My husband, Scott, and our oldest son, Ryan, took a trip to France a little over a year ago; one last father/son trip before he moved to Seattle. They had incredible adventures visiting everything from ancient cathedrals to viewing Monet and Renuar at the Louvre.
Among the many small towns and villages they visited, they kept careful watch for the perfect gift to bring back to me. And perfect it was. It is by far the most expensive little pot I have ever owned and I will always treasure it because they both knew how very much I would appreciate and use it. In a small little town in France called Villedieu−les−Poêles, “the city of copper”, where its heritage of copper manufacturing goes back 800 years, the beautiful craftsmanship of Mauviel´s expertise is based upon this rich tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation, pounding the copper to make fine hand-crafted pots. Whenever I have an opportunity to take out my little pot and use it to make a sauce, it reminds me of the great memories the two of them made together.
This is my beautiful little pot with a bit of cooking love worn into the copper.
To make this panna cotta recipe you will need very few ingredients: coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, vanilla, & gelatin. Adding the blood orange brandy sauce will add a few more, but we’ll get to that a bit later.
In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, add one can of coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, and vanilla and simmer while sugar dissolves. Stir occasionally.
Remove from heat and sprinkle gelatin over the top of the coconut milk mixture. Allow to stand a minute then whisk in briskly.
Pour mixture into round glass ramekins and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours or until firmly set. Remove from fridge and allow the glass to return to room temperature. Place ramekin in a bowl of hot water, making sure the water does not rise above the ramekin, and allow to sit just long enough for the sides to loosen.
Make sure the panna coota is loose in the dish, then place your serving dish over the top of the ramekin and gently flip over.
This next step is what makes this dish so elegant. I usually make the reduction sauce while my panna cotta is firming up in the refrigerator.
I love using blood oranges in this sauce. Not only are they beautiful, but the flavor of the orange is unmatched.
Place a small pot on the stove and squeeze all the juice from two blood oranges into the pot. Add honey, brandy, and a pinch of cinnamon, and gently boil until reduced in half (about 20 minutes). During this process the alcohol is completely dissolved and only the flavor of the brandy remains.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before spooning over the top of the panna cotta. I like to add a small piece of dark chocolate for a completed look and the chocolate compliments the flavors of the orange and brandy so well. Serve it at your next dinner party. I guarantee your guests will be impressed.
Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Brandy Sauce
1 15 oz can coconut milk (or you may use 2 cups 1/2 & 1/2 if you can tolerate dairy)
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp gelatin
2 large blood oranges
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp brandy
dash of cinnamon
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