Hello! Today I am so happy to share this super simple and super pretty dessert of a passion fruit coconut panacotta. I have been cooking since I was eight years old and I first made a panacotta when I was 15 or 16 years old. It is such a simple recipe of cream set with gelatine and infused with some fruit or herb. I used to love making a coconut one which had a combination of sugar, cream and coconut milk! Yes highly decadent and rich but it was always such a hit with friends and family. Of course this was all long ago and I have now given up cooking with refined sugar. I also make my desserts dairy free and prefer using agar powder for setting my desserts rather than gelatine, hence a regular panacotta recipe was not in the works for a long time.
In Hong Kong we get fantastic, tart and sweet passion fruit at throw away prices and I realised it would make a perfect match for a creamy coconut panacotta-made dairy free and refined sugar free of course!
I experimented with making a vegan coconut panacotta over a few times but it was such a challenge to set it with the agar powder. Firstly I use agar powder which is the strongest version of agar. You also get agar flakes and bars, but this recipe focuses only on using agar powder. Agar tends to be very fussy and though it easily sets your liquid, it can cause a havoc on texture! So you may end up with rubbery slab of coconut milk than anything else. I made some not so appetising creations a while ago, which looked great but the texture was not to my liking. Panacotta needs to be soft and creamy, yet firm enough to set and come out of the mould or be sliced.
After a lot of trial and error, I figured the right amount of agar powder required to set the coconut milk into a creamy lush texture. I also wanted to keep the dessert as simple with the natural flavours popping out. Hence the coconut milk has only a little maple syrup, same with the fresh passion fruit pulp. It ensure a dual flavour of fresh coconut and tangy passion fruit in this divine coconut panacotta creation! Again I must state that I have experimented using agar powder, and cannot guarantee results for agar flakes. A dash of maple syrup is the only sweetener and hence makes this dessert quite guilt free!
I set this yummy coconut panacotta in a combination of shot glasses and ramekins. The ramekins make a perfect portion for two to share while the shot glasses are great single serving portion. You can also make it in a single jelly mould, champagne glasses or tea cups. Whatever you have around the house! I have also shared two versions of setting it with passion fruit. One is with the passion fruit pulp set over the coconut panacotta layer with the agar powder. Option 2 is a simpler version to leave it as a syrup (without any agar addition) to be poured over the panacotta before serving.
While I was experimenting, I took a few beautiful shots of these delicious creations. I received a lot of positive response on Instagram and this passion fruit coconut panacotta was chosen by Haute Cuisines (a professional food photography and styling account) as the no Bake dessert pic of the year 2017! I was so thrilled that it inspired me to finalise and share the recipe with you all today. I really hope you like this recipe idea and the images. It is so simple to make, all you need is the agar powder and its a breeze to make! Trust me your friends and family will be raving about this gorgeous dessert and they never need to know how simple it was to make!
Have you made panacotta before? Have I inspired you to give it a try? Let me know in the comments below and do tag me on Instagram if you make this using @meghnas_ as well as #meghnas