I have been looking for any excuse to cook and eat rhubarb. We have gone through many batches of compote already, a yogurt cake I adapted from Cannelle et Vanille, and popsicles. It is hard not to get excited when the first rhubarb pops up in the garden or at the farmer’s market. A welcome sign that winter is coming to an end and spring is on the way. I can’t seem to resist bringing home their crimson stalks week after week. I often get gifted some from my parents or friends too. Which leads me to this recipe.
My friend Michelle and I set aside time to play together in the kitchen last Thursday, something I always look forward to. Michelle is such a talent and the sweetest friend. I had some rhubarb in the fridge that needed using up and I had never made panna cotta, so we decided on a coconut panna cotta lightly sweetened with honey and vanilla to be paired with rhubarb.
We made a simple compote, very similar to this one I posted several years ago. We also played around with cutting rhubarb into thin strips on the mandoline, very carefully, and soaking it in a warm honey simple syrup for a few hours. You can also chop the rhubarb fairly finely instead of the strips. The rhubarb maintains it’s fresh herbaceousness and crunchy quality, with the honey there to balance the tartness. It is a nice textural contrast to the compote if you want to give it a try.
We used a ratio of 1 cup water to a half cup of honey, warmed it up to a simmer and poured it over the rhubarb in a jar. Once it was cooled, it went into the fridge where it continues to soften a bit. Like compote, it keeps well in the fridge for many days and after the rhubarb is gone, you are left with a beautiful pink honey rhubarb syrup that would be delicious in a cocktail or with soda water or spooned over yogurt.
The panna cotta comes together super quick and if you are like me you might have some compote in the fridge already, making this a very simple and satisfying spring dessert. I think my next adventure in rhubarb will be on the savoury side of things.
Thanks to Michelle for helping develop this recipe. There is so much inspiration over on her site and some great recipes too! Be sure to take some time to explore.
- 400ml coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) mild honey, we used clover
- ½ vanilla bean
- 5 grams sheet gelatin
- pinch of salt
- Soak the gelatin in cold water until softened.
- Split half a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the tip of the knife. Place the coconut milk, honey, vanilla bean seeds and pod and salt into a small saucepan. Mix well to combine. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, cover the pot with the lid and let stand for 15 minutes to allow the vanilla to infuse.
- Squeeze the water out of the gelatin sheets and add to the warm coconut milk mixture. Mix until the gelatin is dissolved. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Divide the panna cotta mixture among four ½ cup ramekins or mason jars. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and place in the fridge to cool and set, 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, place the ramekins, one at a time, in a bowl or pot of hot water for 3-5 seconds. Run a sharp knife around the top of the panna cotta and invert onto a small plate. Serve with rhubarb compote. Alternatively, serve the panna cotta in the ramekin or jar topped with the rhubarb compote.