Toasted Coconut Panna Cotta with Hibiscus and Pomegranate

[Photograph: Eunice Choi]

This recipe for panna cotta takes a bit of advance planning in order to set the layer of hibiscus gelee and pomegranate over the top of the coconut custard, but is well worth the extra time.

About the author: Pastry Chef Jenny McCoy has worked in Chicago, New Orleans, and New York City for some of America's most beloved chefs. She is the author of Desserts for Every Season and currently teaches at ICE.edu. When she's not counting her lucky stars that she no longer works in restaurant kitchens, she's busy trying to convince home cooks that baking is easy and fun. Or she's running around working on a new line of baking mixes, shooting classes for Craftsy.com or a new show for the Food Network. Stay tuned @Jenny_McCoy for updates.

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Toasted Coconut Panna Cotta with Hibiscus and Pomegranate

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes 6 to 8 servings
Active time:1 hour
Total time:8 hours to overnight
Special equipment:6 to 8 small glasses, bowls, or ramekins
This recipe appears in: Toasted Coconut Panna Cotta with Hibiscus and Pomegranate

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch of fine sea salt, divided
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers (or 2 hibiscus tea bags, tags removed)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat oven to 325°F. Place 6 to 8 small glasses or ramekins on a baking sheet. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.

  2. 2

    Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast until light golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes and set aside.

  3. 3

    In a small bowl, stir 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3 1/4 teaspoons gelatin together and set aside.

  4. 4

    In a saucepan, bring the milk, cream, and toasted coconut to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes to infuse. Return to a boil and while whisking constantly, slowly pour the gelatin mixture into the hot cream; stir until fully dissolved. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl set over the bowl of ice water, and stir the panna cotta base until just cooled to room temperature, but not thickened. Discard the bowl of ice water. Pour the panna cotta base into a spouted measuring cup or pitcher, then divide evenly among the small glasses. Loosely cover the glasses with a sheet of plastic wrap and carefully transfer to the refrigerator to set for 6 hours to overnight.

  5. 5

    Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.

  6. 6

    In a small bowl, stir the remaining 1 cup of sugar, the remaining pinch of salt, and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoon of gelatin together and set aside.

  7. 7

    Bring the water and the hibiscus to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes to infuse. Return to a boil and while whisking constantly, slowly pour the gelatin mixture into the hibiscus tea; stir until fully dissolved. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a spouted measuring cup or pitcher, then gently pour over the set panna cotta to evenly divide among the small glasses. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Loosely cover the glasses with a sheet of plastic wrap and carefully transfer to the refrigerator to set for about 1 hour before serving.

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