Lychee Panna Cotta is an elegant, silky smooth dessert that’s simpler to make than it looks. Make this tropical lychee dessert in just 20 minutes and impress guests for dinner parties or make date night even more special.
One look around my site tells you just how much I love tropical fruits. This lychee panna cotta is my latest addition to my tropical desserts. The sweet, slightly citrus flavor of lychees combined with cream, strawberries, and vanilla make a dessert that tastes as irresistible as it looks.
But it’s also really easy! Similar to my passion fruit and mango mousse, most of the time required is just letting it chill and set in the fridge.
Panna cotta looks so elegant that it’s ideal for dinner parties or date night, but it’s also so simple that you can make them whenever you just want to treat yourself. The flavor and ease of this version makes it one of my favorite ways to eat lychee, hands down.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It only takes about 20 minutes of hands-on time, then the fridge takes care of the rest.
- It’s creamy, silky, sweet, and full of fruity flavor from the lychee and strawberry topping.
- Make it ahead for dinner parties or other special occasions and serve something elegant without stress.
There are a couple of important ingredients that make your panna cotta flavorful and help make sure it sets.
- Gelatin – Without this, your panna cotta will not set. I recommend powdered gelatin, but sheets can be used instead. You’ll need 1 packet of powder, which is 1 tablespoon of gelatin, or 3 sheets of leaf gelatin.
- Water – It’s very important to use COLD liquid to bloom gelatin.
- Canned Lychees – The syrup from the canned fruit adds the lychee flavor to the panna cotta. Fresh fruit will not work.
- Heavy cream – The fat of heavy cream, or whipping cream, are important for how it sets. Using lower fat dairy or dairy alternatives can mean your panna cotta won’t hold its shape.
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable oil – This is only used for greasing the ramekins so you can unmold them. Use a neutral flavored oil like canola or vegetable.
The perfect finishing touch is a strawberry lychee topping that is made with fresh strawberries,vanilla bean paste, sugar, and lychees. Since you’re using the canned lychee syrup for panna cotta, you can use the canned fruit for the topping, or feel free to pit and chop fresh fruit instead.
This really is a very simple dessert. In just 20 minutes they’ll be chilling in the fridge and your work will be done until it’s time to eat. You’ll need six 4 ounce ramekins or molds.
Start by sprinkling the gelatin over the cold water. It needs to bloom, or hydrate, so set it aside for about 3 minutes. It will look wrinkled and wet when it’s ready.
Next combine the lychee syrup, bloomed gelatin, sugar, and cream over low heat. Stir until everything is dissolved, about 4 minutes. You can check by rubbing some of the mixture between two fingers. If it’s grainy, it needs more time.
Remove it from the heat and use the oil to very lightly grease the ramekins. Then pour the mixture evenly between each and let them cool down to room temperature. Cover the ramekins with cling film and transfer to the fridge for at least 6 hours to set up.
Make the strawberry lychee topping by combining the chopped fruit with the remaining sugar and vanilla bean paste. Toss to combine and refrigerate.
Serving and Storage
When ready to serve, you can eat it right out of the ramekin, or unmold it. To release them from the molds, dip the bottom of the bowls into warm water for 10 seconds, then lay a cold serving plate over the top. Flip it and your lychee panna cotta should come out. Tap the bottom of the bowl lightly if it doesn’t.
Then just top it with a spoonful of strawberry lychee topping and enjoy.
Panna cotta is remarkably shelf stable and can last for a week in the fridge if tightly covered. But, for best flavor, eat them within 3 days.
I think you’ll love how simple and flavorful this lychee dessert is, it’s one of my favorite lychee recipes and I hope it will be for you too. Be sure to check out my other tropical sweet treats while you’re here.
- 33 Zingy Lime Desserts
- Homemade Guava Jam
- Healthy Avocado Lime Cheesecake
- Orange Bread with Fresh Orange Syrup
Lychee Panna Cotta
For the panna cotta:
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) cold water
- 3 teaspoons (9g) powdered gelatin
- 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
- 1 cup (250ml) lychee syrup , from a can of lychees
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
For the topping:
- 9 oz. (250g) fresh strawberries , trimmed and cut into quarters
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 3.5 oz. (100g) lychees , fresh or canned, pitted and cut into quarters
The panna cotta.
- Pour the cold water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over it and mix well. Leave to soak for 2-3 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, lychee syrup, sugar, and gelatin mixture. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and gelatin have completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the warm panna cotta mixture into the lightly greased ramekins and let cool to room temperature. Cover each with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator to set for a minimum 6 hours or overnight.
- In a medium bowl, add the strawberries, sugar and vanilla, and toss to combine. Stir in the lychees. Cover the fruit mixture with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until the panna cotta is ready to serve.
- You can serve panna cotta in ramekins or unmold and serve on a plate. If serving in the ramekins, simply remove the plastic wrap and top the panna cotta with vanilla strawberries and lychees.
- If unmolding the panna cotta, dip the ramekins into a bowl of very warm water for several seconds. Run a thin knife around the edges to loosen up. Place the serving plate upside down on the panna cotta and flip over. Tap the bottom of the ramekin gently and the panna cotta should fall out. Top the unmolded panna cotta with prepared fruit mixture and serve.
- Store panna cotta in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. Top with lychees and strawberries just before serving.