Coconut Panna Cotta

by Eddy Van Damme on April 12, 2010

One of my favorite flavor combinations is green tea with coconut. What I have learned is that green tea can very quickly taste grassy and somewhat herbal. To avoid this unwanted result, I prefer to use Matcha powder over steeping green tea leaves. Matcha gives a fresher flavor without the herbal undertones and provides a glorious green color to most dessert applications. It was my Japanese student, Yoko, who first introduced me to magnificent Japanese Matcha.

To flavor Gelato, Bavarian creams, panna cotta, cake batters etc Matcha works extremely well. The flavor works great with citrus, mango, passion fruit and other tropical fruits. It can also be a good combination with white chocolate, almonds and certain spices such as anise. Green tea liquor is available for applications when a little “freshness” and or flavor enhancement is required. Kirsch can also perform some of the above with excellent results as well.

Since most canned coconut milks are weak in coconut flavor, I prefer to use a frozen type of coconut puree. To make it a little lighter, you can mix dairy milk with coconut milk, but naturally, if you use too much, you will lose a significant amount of the coconut taste.  For certain applications I boil dairy milk and add unsweetened coconut (desiccated coconut). Let this steep for a few hours and strain. This makes dairy milk with a delicious coconut flavor.

Getting it all together!

Bake the Matcha cake ahead of time and freeze it up to two weeks. The crumble freezes without any problems and can be baked when needed. The coconut panna cotta itself is best made the day of serving but will still be good the next day.

Coconut Panna Cotta

Yield: 4-6 servings

2 Cups (16 oz) Coconut puree-frozen type 480 g
¼ Cup (2 oz) Whipping cream (34-36 %fat) 60 g
1 (1) Vanilla bean 1
¼ Cup (2 oz ) Extra fine granulated sugar 60 g
2 (2) Gelatin leaves/sheets 2
2 Tablespoons (opt) (1 oz) Coconut liquor 30 g

  1. In a saucepan bring the coconut milk, seeds of the vanilla bean and sugar to a boil. Cover with plastic and let cool to below 183°F (81°C-83°C).
  2. Bloom the gelatin by placing it for at least 5 minutes in ice cold water. Squeeze the water out of the gelatin and place it in the cooled mixture. Stir well and let cool to room temperature before pouring in the verrines. Whisk to ensure that the coconut cream will be homogenous.
  3. Pour in the verrines or glasses which have a piece of green tea financier cake on the bottom.
  4. Set in a refrigerator to set the cream.

Green tea streusel

½  Cup (2 oz) Bread flour, very cold 60 g
½ Cup (2 oz) Almond flour-meal, very cold 60 g
1 teaspoon (1 tsp) Matcha 2.5 gram
4 Tablespoons (2 oz) Extra fine granulated sugar 60 g
pinch (pinch) Fleur de sel or salt Pinch
½ Cup (2 oz) Unsalted butter, very cold and cubed 60 g
  1. A variety of methods on making the streusel:
  2. A. Place the cold ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbly.
  3. B. Place the cold ingredients in a machine bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles crumbs.
  4. C. Place the ingredients on a work surface and using a pastry cutter, cut the mixture until a crumbly mixture is obtained.
  5. Scatter the crumbs on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven until parts of the streusel shows signs of a golden hue.

19 comments on “Coconut Panna Cotta

  1. Kenny on said:


  2. Justin on said:

    I made the pot de creme from last week post and they came out perfect! Can’t wait to make this.

  3. Al the recipes on this site are rock solid. I’m always looking for the next article. With appreciation

  4. I love green tea! I’m not too big of a fan of coconut, but it could be because I’ve only had not-so-good coconut desserts before. Like vanilla cake with chewy coconut shavings and such.
    Just a quick question: what are gelatin leaves? I have used packets of gelatin before and dissolved them in water but have never heard of gelatin leaves/packets. Can you buy them at grocery stores or do you have to go to specialty stores?

  5. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Jena,
    Gelatin leaves/sheets are available in better stocked grocery stores or bakery supply places. Not only are they very easy to work with (One of the reasons it is the gelatin choice of most professionals) they are give consistent results.
    Thank you for visiting Jena,

  6. Lenny on said:

    It’s great seeing you use Matcha in desserts. I’m a big fan of it and I can’t wait to make this dessert.
    Lenny M.

  7. Hilary Adams on said:

    You always make such inspired creations… so easy and yet so elegant. Beautiful, Chef. Simply beautiful.

  8. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thank you. Happy I can inspire your work.

  9. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thank you. I do my best.

  10. What’s not to love! You will always inspire us and in doing so take us on a sensory culinary journey unrivaled. Thank you for the time you’ve invested, from those of us who’ve been luck enough to have been taught by a true Master!

  11. Diana Wallace on said:

    Beautiful and amazingly fantastic!

  12. Thanks you for sharing your beautiful work, I have just ordered your book and am thrilled to have found your website.
    Cheers from ‘down under’

  13. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Trish,
    Thank you for your kind comments. Hope you will love the book!
    All the best, Eddy

  14. This is a sharp picture product you have chef eddy… Keep doing it…

  15. Ben Davenport on said:

    Chef Eddy,

    Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine which is known to produce a calming effect,
    this is a delicious way to get the benefits of green tea!

    Ben Davenport

  16. Hi Chef

    Just wanted to know if this panna cotta was to be made in a mould and unmoulded on a plate, will it still use the same amount of gelatine.

  17. Ben Davenport on said:

    I have eaten Panna Cotta with other flavors but never with coconut. The cocount adds a tropical flair to this dessert.

  18. Mark Holley on said:

    What a well deserved treat after a delicious meal. Great job.

  19. nereida rios on said:

    The panna cotta we made in class was amazing, so creamy and airy. the addition of coconut would make this to die for. especially with a mango gelee on top to make it tropical

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