coconut panna cotta

Chef Frank’s Coconut Panna Cotta

Take a tip from Chef Frank and up your pudding game with this layered dessert.

Want to take your homemade pudding to new heights? Chef Frank Proto shares an elevated take on coconut pudding in the latest episode of Epicurious’ 4 Levels series. 

Chocolate, vanilla, banana or any which way you cut it, homemade pudding is a comforting dessert that can be easily made at home. The Italian version is known as panna cotta and requires the same method of thickening sweetened cream with gelatin. Chef Frank flavors his panna cotta with coconut and layers it with bright, acidic mango gelée and sweet pandan foam. 

“Pandan leaf is common in Southeast Asia. It has a very popcorn or grassy note to it, and you’ll see it used in a lot of desserts,” Frank says. “I’m not an expert on Southeast Asian flavors, but, as a chef, I constantly like to experiment with new ingredients and this is fairly new to me and I just think it’s wonderful.” 

Watch Chef Frank’s demo in Epicurious’ latest 4 Levels series and get the accompanying recipe below. 

Learn more about earning a Pastry & Baking diploma at ICE.


Coconut Panna Cotta with Mango Gelée & Pandan Foam

Yields 6-8 servings

Mango Gelée



  • 3 sheets gelatin (gold)
  • 400 grams mango puree
  • Juice of one lime


  1. Bloom the gelatin in cold water; reserve. 
  2. Heat the mango puree and add the lime juice.  
  3. Squeeze out excess water of gelatin and add to the mango puree; place in the bottom of a glass and let set.  
Coconut Panna Cotta


  • 500 milliliters heavy cream
  • 1500 milliliters coconut milk
  • 301 grams sugar
  • 15 grams gelatin sheets (gold)


  1. Heat the cream, coconut milk and sugar in a sauce pan until just below a simmer.  
  2. Bloom the gelatin in cold water.
  3. Add the gelatin to the cream and coconut mixture. Strain and chill but not so cold that it sets only enough so it doesn’t melt the mango. 
  4. Pour over the layer of mango gelée and let set.
Pandan Foam


  • 1 quart half-and-half
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 ounces pandan leaf  
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum


  1. Heat the half-and-half and sugar to a simmer.  
  2. Turn the heat off, add the pandan leaf and lime zest and let steep for 5 minutes. 
  3. Put the pandan mixture into a vita prep with only half of the leaves (about 1 ounce, discard the rest). Puree until the mixture turns green. With the blender running, add the xanthan gum and puree on high for 1 minute.
  4. Strain through a chinois and chill in an ice bath. Once chilled, add to a siphon and charge with two No2 canisters; reserve. 


Garnish and Assembly


Young coconut, diced
Fresh mango, diced

Spray pandan foam on top of reserved parfaits, garnish with diced mango and coconut and serve immediately. 

Find more culinary inspiration in Epicurious' 4 Levels video series.

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