• Gail Simmons’ Ginger Panna Cotta with Sauteed Pineapple


A Twist on the Classic Italian Dessert

By Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons’ Ginger Panna Cotta with Sauteed Pineapple


Panna Cotta

  • 1 cup whole milk, plus 1/4 cup for blooming gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 slices peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1 strip lemon peel
  • 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup crème fraiche, room temperature
  • Non-stick spray


  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 slice peeled fresh ginger root, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chiffonode of fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons shredded, sweetened coconut, toasted


Servings: 4 to 6 (or 8 to 10 2-oz tasting portions)

Begin by adding 1 cup milk, heavy cream and sugar to a pot and set over medium heat. Split and scrape the vanilla bean into the pot. Add lemon peel and sliced fresh ginger root. Bring to a simmer, then shut off heat and cover. Allow to steep for 15-20 minutes.

While the mixture is steeping, bloom the gelatin: Whisk together 1/4 cup milk and gelatin until it is completely dissolved. Add bloomed gelatin to the cream mixture and whisk to dissolve evenly.

Spray four to six 6-ounce ramekins with non-stick spray to evenly coat the insides. Add crème fraiche to a large mixing bowl. Strain cooled cream mixture through a sieve into the bowl and discard the vanilla pod, ginger and lemon peel. Gently whisk to combine the mixture. Distribute evenly amongst ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight until they are set.

Meanwhile, make the pineapple garnish. In a medium saucepan heat the brown sugar and water until dissolved. Add the pineapple and ginger and cook until simmering.  Lower the heat and sauté gently for about 10 minutes until the pineapple is tender. Strain any remaining liquid into a measuring cup, reserve the fruit, and allow to cool.  Toss with fresh mint.

When panna cotta is set, carefully invert each ramekin onto a small plate or a shallow bowl. Place a tablespoon of the pineapple mixture on top of the panna cotta and sprinkle with a pinch of coconut to serve.

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