Raspberry and coconut panna cotta

Panna cotta is such a wonderfully versatile dessert and it can be made to suit almost every intolerance as it contains so few ingredients. However, if you plan on enjoying one of these in a cafe or restaurant it is always important to ask what they are, as there are many ways it can be made. Panna cotta is generally gluten-free but some versions contain eggs, some contain dairy, some contain refined sugar and depending on flavour some may contain nuts…. I’m very pleased to tell you this version contains none of those things.

There’s no reason for a dessert not to be nourishing in my mind. It may be a treat, but you still want all those ingredients working for you. They’re taking up space in your precious gut after all so they’d best be earning their keep! I think panna cotta has the potential to be extremely nourishing when made with good quality ingredients and my go-to brands are Honest to Goodness and Great Lakes Gelatin (GLG) because I know and trust them. This is not a sponsored post, I have just come to love their products and company ethos’ over time so show my support by stocking my pantry with their goods ❤️

Panna Cotta 2

Gelatin is a bit of a wonder ingredient that is derived from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals and is packed to the brim with wonderful healing properties. Ever wonder why your Grandmother may have forced her homemade chicken soup on you when you weren’t well? Gelatin!

When using a store-bought gelatin making sure it has come from healthy, grass-fed animals; contains no heavy metals and is free from all allergens is paramount to ensure its many and varied health benefits are experienced…. and no allergic reactions occur! You’re not likely to get any health benefits whatsoever from a gelatin that is derived from factory farmed, unhealthy and unhappy animals that’s for sure and certain.

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So about those gelatin health benefits….. When researching for this post I found the majority of evidence I was interested in was discussed in papers from the 30s and 40s. One source in particular, ‘Gelatin in Nutrition and Medicine’, a book written by Nathan Ralph Gotthoffer in 1945, seemed to be the point of reference for most other researchers, even those writing recent papers. GLG propose this is likely the cause of human experiments that were deemed acceptable all those years ago no longer being so these days for ethical reasons. They have gone on to review and update the information documented by Gotthoffer and also turned the book into an eBook. It’s an intriguing little read that outlines gelatin’s ability to reduce inflammation, help with skin healing, aid in the restoration/improvement of gut integrity and improve sleep quality. We also know it can improve joint health amongst many other things.

Gelatin is definitely an ingredient to love so if you don’t use it at all or often, try incorporating some into your day through the inclusion of home-made stock or broth, bone-in meat stews or any kind of gelatin based desserts. Panna cotta anyone? If downing a bowl of broth doesn’t interest you, you could also try cooking your rice or quinoa using the absorption method so they soak up all the goodness the broth has to offer. It will give them so much more flavour too!

And with all of that said, I hope you enjoy this raspberry and coconut panna cotta…. we’ve loved it in the summer heat ❤️

Raspberry and coconut panna cotta

Panna Cotta 5

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp gelatin (I used Great Lakes gelatin)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 400ml can coconut milk (I used Honest to Goodness)
  • 3/4 cup organic raspberries and some extra to serve (fresh or frozen is fine)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup maple syrup (more or less depending on your sweetness preference. Rice malt syrup or honey are also fine)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 2 Tbsp desiccated coconut, and some extra to serve (I used Honest to Goodness)
  • 100g dark, organic fairtrade chocolate (optional topping)

Directions

  1. Put the warm water in a medium-sized saucepan then sprinkle the gelatin over the top and leave for 5 – 7 minutes just sitting on the counter. You want to re-hydrate the gelatin so it blooms and resembles something like a clear applesauce. Blooming also ensures whatever you’re making with the gelatin (panna cotta for us!) will have a smooth consistency when it’s set
  2. While you’re waiting, combine the coconut milk, raspberries, maple syrup and vanilla in a high-speed blender and blend to a smoothie consistency. I did this in the Thermomix on speed 7 for 10 seconds
  3. Strain the smoothie through a fine mesh strainer into a jug or bowl to remove the raspberry seeds then stir in the desiccated coconut
  4. Add the strained raspberry smoothie to the bloomed gelatin then place the saucepan over a low heat and gently warm the mixture, whisking constantly for 5 – 7 minutes so its well combined and warmed through but doesn’t boil
  5. Remove from the heat and pour into glasses or ramekins. I used 12 small espresso type cups, or you can make it in 4 – 6 larger ones. Place in the fridge and chill until set (about 1 – 2 hours for the small glasses and 3 – 4 hours for the larger glasses) then serve topped with a little extra desiccated coconut and fresh raspberries
  6. Optional step to serve – chop the chocolate into small chunks then place in a small saucepan and stir over a very low heat until just melted. Pour a little over each panna cotta and top with some extra desiccated coconut and a fresh raspberry

Substitutions:

  • For a low histamine version, replace the raspberries with blueberries
  • For a low fodmap version, just leave out the desiccated coconut
  • If coconut milk doesn’t work for you replace with your milk of choice

Resources:

  1. Gotthoffer, NR 1945, ‘Gelatin in Nutrition and Medicine‘, Grayslake Gelatin Company, Graylake IL,
  2. Daniel, K, ‘Why Broth is Beautiful: Essential Roles for Proline, Glycine and Gelatin‘, viewed 18 January 2016,
  3. Irwin, MI, Hegsted DM. 1971, ‘A conspectus of research on amino requirements of man‘, Journal of Nutrition, vol. 101, no.4, p 539-566.

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