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Coconut Milk and Madagascar Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Slofoodgroup Team July 13, 2019

Madagascar Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta 

Panna Cotta is a classic Italian custard, traditionally made with heavy cream and refined sugar. We are taking a paleo approach to this classic by incorporating coconut milk and maple syrup. Because we infused so much incredible flavor by using our fresh vanilla beans, we were able to eliminate unnecessary sugars and let the creamy, vanilla custard shine on its own. Topped with just a handful of fresh berries and raw honey, you’ll have a decadent and impressive dessert. The best news? It’s incredibly easy to make.

Your first order of business is to whisk the coconut milk to form a uniform base. Coconut milk naturally separates in the can, so our goal here is to simply blend it back together. Next, you’ll add the gelatin and allow it to bloom. This simply means you’re giving the gelatin time to soak and soften before being heated.

While the gelatin blooms, it’s time for the satisfying task of preparing the fragrant vanilla beans. With a sharp paring knife, slice your bourbon vanilla pods lengthwise. Using the back end of your knife, carefully scrape the beans from the center to remove the seeds. It’s that easy! But do not toss those pods—they're great for infusing vanilla flavor in flavored milk and puddings. I like to toss the empty pods in a freezer bag for my next batch of almond milk.

From here, it's as easy as heating, mixing, and chilling. You’ll combine the ingredients in a pot and heat over medium-low. It is important to be sure to heat the mixture but avoid a boil. Gelatin loses its ability to form a gel when heated over high heat. Be present for this step, as the mixture can go from warm to boiling very quickly.
If you’re making individual servings, this mixture will go right into the molds. You can use mini tart trays or even shallow teacups. 

You can serve these right in their molds, of for a classic presentation you can flip them out of the mold. If the panna cotta doesn’t seem to want to come loose from its mold, place the bottom in a bowl of warm water until it easily pulls from the sides. I especially love serving these out of the mold, as the vanilla beans all travel to the bottom and look absolutely beautiful when exposed. A drizzle of raw honey and sprinkling of blueberries and fresh mint and you’re on your way to creamy, dreamy, dairy-free heaven.

Paleo Panna Cotta with Vanilla, Mint, and Blueberries


1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
3 TBSP maple syrup
1 pod Extra Long Madagascar Vanilla, seeds only
2 tsp grass-fed gelatin
1 tsp blueberries
2 TBSP mint, chopped (optional)
2 tsp raw honey to drizzle


  1. Place coconut milk in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over top and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Slice vanilla bean pod lengthwise then with a paring knife, scrape beans from the center.
  4. Transfer mixture to a small pot. Add scraped vanilla seeds and heat over medium-low, being sure not to boil.
  5. Whisk to dissolve gelatin. Add maple syrup and whisk it again to combine. Simmer on low for 5 minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t boil.
  6. Divide into 4 molds or serving cups.
  7. Refrigerate 4 hours then carefully remove from molds.
  8. Cover with fresh blueberries or your fruit or berry of choice, sprinkle with shaved lemon zest, and drizzle with honey. Enjoy immediately.