Coconut panna cotta, amaretto cherries & coconut macaroons...

Mmm... Summer. Cherries, coconut... These are summer flavours, right? Well, at least they are for me! Whether I think of coconut milk or sunscreen with a coconut scent (and trying not to lick it off because that would be very wrong and of course disgusting!), it's one of those things I simply always associate with sunshine and sweltering temperatures. And cherries, well, what would summer be without cherries?! I mean, along with peaches, strawberries and melons, cherries are one of those fruits that I can just eat on their own but also love to incorporate into recipes.

Coconut-almond panna cotta with amaretto cherries

So, it then happens that Alpro UK sent me their new coconut and almond drink. Since I take my coffee black and didn't just want to drink it (fine with wine, but I'm not really a milk drinker, be it from cows or plant based, unless, ahem, I have the most severe hangover...), I had to think about something else to do with it. I really wanted to do it justice and come up with something special that would match the sweet, summery scent of coconut I could smell the moment I opened the pack. A little bit of thinking then led me to one of the classics: a panna cotta! Of course! Now, I know that "real" panna cotta contains heavy cream. However, I wanted to keep the recipe lactose free, so decided to leave the cream out and only use the coconut and almond drink. I have to admit that it doesn't quite come up as super-creamy as the one with double cream (totally expected), but it's still smooth and a lovely treat especially when it's hot outside. Add some Amaretto soaked cherries and little coconut macaroons and you have a complete dessert! You didn't think I'd serve up a coconut panna cotta on its own, did you now? So, if you fancy giving this light summer dessert a go, then read on for the recipe! Btw, I've used Nigella's macaroon recipe as that was something I certainly wasn't going to reinvent... 

Coconut-almond panna cotta with amaretto cherries

To serve four people (and have some cherries and coconut macaroons left over!) you'll need the following ingredients:

For the panna cotta:

For the cherries:

  • 200g cherries
  • 50ml water
  • 100g sugar
  • 100ml Amaretto

For the macaroons:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 15g ground almonds
  • 125g shredded coconut
  • 1 pinch of salt
Coconut-almond panna cotta with amaretto cherries

And here's how it's done:

If at all possible, prepare the cherries the day before to give them time to really soak.

  • wash the cherries
  • in a large pan, heat the sugar and water on a medium heat until bubbling
  • leave to boil until reduced by half
  • add the Amaretto and again, bring to a boil
  • add the cherries, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for a few minutes
  • pour the cherries and syrup into a dish, cover and leave until the next day

To make the panna cotta:

  • soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for five minutes
  • grease four moulds with coconut oil (this will make it easier to de-mould them)
  • pour the coconut and almond drink into a pan and gently heat on the lowest setting
  • squeeze the water from the gelatine and add to the coconut and almond drink
  • stir continuously until the gelatine is completely dissolved - do NOT let it boil
  • pour the mix into the prepared moulds and leave to cool
  • once completely cooled, put the moulds into the fridge to cool for at least four hours

To make the macaroons:

  • preheat your oven to 170C
  • line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • whisk the egg white until foamy, then add the cream of tartar
  • keep whisking until it forms soft peaks
  • add the sugar one tsp at a time and keep whisking until it forms stiff peaks
  • now fold in the ground almonds, coconut and salt
  • form little balls of around 2cm diameter and place onto the lined baking tray
  • bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until slightly golden on the outside 

To serve:

  • de-mould the panna cotta onto a plate
  • add some cherries and syrup and serve with the macaroons
Coconut-almond panna cotta with amaretto cherries
Coconut-almond panna cotta with amaretto cherries

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Disclaimer: I was compensated with goods for this post, however, all opinions are my own.