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Coconut panna cotta with papaya, lime and vanilla

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for coconut panna cotta with papaya, lime and vanilla.

By Emma Knowles & Adelaide Lucas
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking plus cooling, setting, freezing
  • Serves 8
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Coconut panna cotta with papaya, lime and vanilla
The ripeness and sweetness of the papaya will determine how much vanilla-lime syrup and lime juice you’ll need to add to the granita mixture. You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


  • 140 gm shredded coconut
  • 600 ml pouring cream
  • 600 ml milk
  • 260 gm caster sugar
  • 4½ gelatine leaves (titanium strength), softened in cold water
  • To serve: shaved red papaya
Vanilla-lime syrup
  • 3 limes
  • 440 gm (2 cups) caster sugar
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean (reserve pod for coconut panna cotta)
Papaya granita
  • 1 ripe red papaya (about 650gm), seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime, or to taste


  • 1
    For vanilla-lime syrup, zest the rind of the limes and set aside. Peel limes, then remove segments over a measuring jug to catch juices, squeezing trimmings until you have 30ml. Reserve segments and juice separately. Combine sugar, vanilla seeds and 300ml water in a small saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, add lime rind and cook until rind is tender and translucent and mixture is syrupy (6-8 minutes). Strain into a measuring jug (you should have 500ml). Remove rind with a slotted spoon and add to lime segments. Add lime juice to syrup, then pour 180ml syrup over lime segments and rind and refrigerate until required. Reserve remaining vanilla-lime syrup for papaya granita.
  • 2
    For papaya granita, process papaya, lime juice, reserved vanilla-lime syrup and 125ml iced water in a food processor until smooth, strain through a fine sieve into a shallow metal tray and freeze, scraping every hour to form ice crystals (6 hours-overnight). Makes about 750ml.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 180C. Spread coconut evenly on an oven tray and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden (12-15 minutes). Transfer to a saucepan, add cream, milk, sugar and vanilla pod and simmer over medium heat to infuse (8-10 minutes). Remove from heat, cool to room temperature and press through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan (discard solids). Return coconut mixture to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to coconut mixture and stir over medium heat until gelatine dissolves. Strain into a jug, divide among 8 small dessert bowls or glasses and refrigerate until set (3-4 hours).
  • 4
    Top panna cotta with shaved papaya, lime segments and rind, drizzle with vanilla-lime syrup, top with papaya granita and serve.


Drink Suggestion: Late-harvest riesling. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Emma Knowles & Adelaide Lucas