Vanilla panna cotta with coconut macaroons

Photographer: Adam
40 mini or 12 standard serves

This combination of smooth, creamy panna cotta and crunchy, slightly chewy macaroon is really rather luscious! You can either serve the panna cotta atop the macaroon (as shown in the photos), or on the side with a little fresh fruit or berries.

A mini muffin tin is a great size for making mini panna cottas that can be presented on a little macaroon as a finger-food sweet treat. You can get around 40 out of this recipe.

For an extra treat top with hot caramelised banana immediately before serving – the panna cotta will start to melt so best to do if you will be eating straight away.


Coconut macaroons
5 egg whites
2-1/4 cups caster sugar
2 cups shredded coconut
70 g ground almonds
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Panna cotta
3 cups (750ml) cream
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 cup sugar
2 vanilla pods, split and scraped
4 ½ gelatine leaves, soaked – you can substitute with powered gelatine, 2 tbsp dissolved completely in 1tbsp boiling water

Caramelised banana pieces
4 bananas, peeled and sliced diagonally into pieces around 1cm thick
6 tbsp butter
8 tbsp brown sugar


Coconut macaroons
Preheat oven to 165ºC
1. In a large bowl beat egg whites until foamy, then gradually add in sugar. Continue to beat the mixture until it forms firm peaks.
2. Fold in coconut, ground almonds, flour and vanilla essence.
3. Pipe desired size rounds onto lined baking trays, brush tops with a little water and bake for around 20 minutes (until golden).
4. Cool, and then remove from tray.
If some of your rounds are a little large, they can be cut down with a cookie-cutter once cool.
Store for in an air-tight container. These are also delicious choc dipped, served with ice-cream for an easy dessert.

Panna cotta
1. Combine cream, milk, vanilla and sugar in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Just as it is beginning to boil remove from heat and add the gelatine.
2. Pour into a large stainless steel or ceramic bowl and cool over an ice bath, whisking regularly. You may have to top up the ice bath with more ice half-way through to adequately cool the mix.
3. Once sticking to the sides of the bowl pour into lightly greased moulds and refrigerate until set. For my mini panna cottas I used mini muffin trays, larger servings can be set in anything interesting you have around the place – small jelly moulds look great.
4. To serve, press gently on the top of the panna cotta with a clean finger to release from the edge of the mould. Upturn onto a plate and give a quick shake. If you still have difficulty turning the panna cotta out of the mould, briefly dip the underside into a bowl of hot water.

Caramelised banana pieces
1. Heat a heavy-based pan to a medium heat and add the butter. When it starts to sizzle add the banana pieces and sprinkle over brown sugar.
2. Cook until the banana has softened and turned golden brown. The brown sugar and butter should have thickened to create a sauce.
3. Spoon over panna cotta immediately before serving.