We recently moved to South Carolina from Florida and as you may know, key lime pie originated in Key West, Florida. Sometimes I get homesick but this Key Lime Panna Cotta brings me back to the warm, tropical vibes of my hometown. I combined the key lime flavor to represent Florida with the Italian panna cotta dessert to represent my Italian roots and memories of making it with my grandmother when I was younger.
THE KEY LIME PANNA COTTA EXPLAINED:
Panna cotta is cooked sweetened cream that contains gelatin and is served in ramekins, chilled. This specific panna cotta contains lots of key lime juice and key lime zest to give it tons of tropical flavors. I topped them with buttery graham cracker crumbs and key lime slices.
HOW TO MAKE THIS KEY LIME PANNA COTTA:
Pour whole milk into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top, set aside.
In a medium saucepan, cook heavy cream on medium until simmering. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and 1-2 small drops of food coloring. Mix until combined and pour evenly among (6) 5 oz ramekins.
Place in the refrigerator to stiffen for at least 4 hours.
Before serving: Melt butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Crush graham crackers into the butter and stir until the crumbs are coated. Sprinkle the buttery graham cracker crumbs on top of the panna cotta. Slice the key limes in half, then cut the halves in half and place those slices on top of the graham cracker crumbs
- whole milk
- unflavored gelatin
- heavy whipping cream
- vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- limes for zest
- key lime juice
- graham crackers
- green food coloring (optional)
click here to purchase the equipment listed below
- mixing bowl
- 5 oz ramekins (I used oui yogurt jars!)
How do I store these Key Lime Panna Cottas?
They can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Troubleshooting- tips + tricks when making the recipe
When developing this recipe, I wanted to have a graham cracker crust on the bottom so that the panna cotta can sit on the bottom. However, with the jars that I was using, I couldn’t press the crumbs down enough for them to stay. So when I poured the panna cotta mixture into the ramekins with the graham cracker crumbs at the bottom, the crumbs rose to the top and settled everywhere. I didn’t like the look or the soggy crumbs throughout. If you are interested in trying to do what I was trying to do, try using a regular 5 oz ramekin and press the buttery graham cracker crumbs down and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Then pour the panna cotta mixture over it. If you try it and succeed please let me know in the comments below!
Can I double/triple or halve this recipe? (how to/what not to do/why)
This recipe can be halved and doubled. However, if you plan on making more than double, I recommend making it in separate batches.
Can this recipe be gluten-free/vegan or can any of the ingredients be substituted for other dietary restrictions?
Unfortunately, it is not my specialty. However, there are many bloggers who specialize in gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, dairy-free, etc. desserts and I recommend giving them a try!
Key Lime Panna Cotta
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin 1 packet Knox gelatin
- 1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 3 lime’s zest
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1 ½ sheets graham crackers crushed up
- 1 tbsp butter melted
- Green food coloring optional
- Pour whole milk into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top, set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, cook heavy cream on medium until simmering, be cautious because it will go from simmering to overflowing quickly.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla extract, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and 1-2 small drops of food coloring. Mix until combined. Stir in the milk and gelatin mixture and pour evenly among (6) 5 oz ramekins.
- Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours.
- Before serving: Melt butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Crush graham crackers into the butter and stir until the crumbs are coated. Sprinkle the buttery graham cracker crumbs on top of the panna cotta. Slice the key limes in half, then cut the halves in half and place those slices on top of the graham cracker crumbs
If you loved this recipe for Key Lime Panna Cotta, be sure to check out my Key Lime Pie Bars and my Key Lime Pie Cake Truffles