Coconut Milk and Chinese Red Date Panna Cotta with Rum Macerated Red Dates and Black Honey

Coconut Milk and Chinese Red Date Panna Cotta with Rum Macerated Red Dates and Black Honey

  • Servings: 6 1/2 cup servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Chinese red dates are also known as jujubes.  They are used widely in Asia in their dried form in teas, sauces, and desserts.  I have only used them in teas until this point when I decided to try them in a panna cotta.

The dried dates are chewy but when soaked in a liquid become quite soft so they are perfect for this dessert application, which is probably why they use them for desserts in Asia!

The best way to describe their flavor is a cross between a very ripe apple and honey.

I garnished the finished panna cotta with red dates that I macerated in dark rum then placed those dates on dots of black honey, which I received as a gift from a friend.  The source for the honey is a small farm close to Sarasota.



  • 3 cups coconut milk
    • You may replace one cup of coconut milk with water as most cans of coconut milk contain about 2 cups.
  • 1 cup dried Chinese red dates or jujubes
  • 1 packet of gelatin
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • Optional garnish:
    • A few dried Chinese red dates
    • 1/4 cup of dark or white rum
    • Honey



  • Wash and drain the dried jujubes, place in a small to medium sauce pot, add the coconut milk (and water if desired), and sugar, place on a burner set to medium-high, bring to a boil, remove from the burner, allow to get to room temperature, place in a sealable plastic container, place in the fridge overnight.
    • This will allow the jujubes to infuse their flavor into the coconut milk.
  • Gelatin (do this step after pureeing the coconut milk and Chinese red date mixture; see below):
    • Add the cold water to a small sauce pot, spread the gelatin over the water, allow to moisten (about 1 minute), set the burner to medium, warm, stir until gelatin has dissolved, remove from heat.
  • Optional garnish of rum macerated Chinese red dates:
    • Place the rum and dates in a small sauce pot, warm on a burner for 2 minutes; set aside.


  • Retrieve the coconut milk and date mixture from the fridge, pour into a small to medium sauce pot, bring to a boil, pour into a high-speed blender, puree until smooth.
  • SAFETY TIP!:  BE CAREFUL!  Hold the top of the blender down when processing hot liquids in a blender!
    • Hot liquids in a blender will react more vigorously when processed (i.e. the top will fly off the blender because of the expanding steam if the top is not held down.  Even the pros forget this…just watch Top Chef!)
  • Return to the sauce pot, bring to a simmer, remove from the heat, add the dissolved gelatin, stir to mix well, ladle into the 1/2 cup ramekins.
  • Let the mixture get to room temperature then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to set (minimum of six hours).
  • Your Chinese red date and coconut milk panna cotta is done and may be served in the ramekin or if you choose to remove the panna cotta from the ramekin place the ramekin in a larger bowl, add enough warm water to just below the rim of the ramekin, let it sit for a minute or two but no more, run a sharp knife along the edge of the ramekin to separate the panna cotta from the sides.
  • Carefully turn over onto a plate; you may need to give the ramekins a good tap or two to release the panna cotta.
  • Garnish with rum macerated Chinese red dates and dots of honey.


Coconut Milk and Chinese Red Date Panna Cotta with Rum Macerated Red Dates and Black Honey




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