Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe

Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe Recipe

Panna cotta is a dessert we often ate during our Italian vacation last month. It consists of a combination of cream, milk, sugar and gelatin, which is the key ingredient for binding and thickening the dessert. My husband Lulu, who's a vegetarian, is still on a diet and has been working hard to shed the last few pounds, so I prepared my own version to suit his dietary needs.

Agar agar (made from seaweed) is a great vegan substitute for gelatin. I used hazelnut milk to replace the cream and milk and Manuka honey as the sweetener. 

To give an appealing look to the dessert, I served it with red currants ("Corinthes rouges" in French) for a striking contrast in color. The reasoning behind the hazelnut milk is that historically, panna cotta was eaten with fruit and hazelnuts. 

Ingredients

Yields: 12 servings

2 (0.88-ounce) packages agar agar powder
2 (32-ounce) packages unsweetened hazelnut milk
2⅓ cups superfine sugar
7⅓ cups cold water
¾ cup Manuka honey (or your favorite sweetener)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 (6-ounce) package fresh red currants

Directions

Dissolve the agar agar in about ½ cup water. In a saucepan, bring the rest of the water to a boil. Pour the agar agar liquid into the boiling water. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, bring to a second boil, then immediately lower to medium heat. Keep stirring for an even, smooth texture.

In a different pan, heat the hazelnut milk, then combine with the agar agar liquid. Add sugar, then lower the heat. Add the Manuka honey and vanilla extract. Stir well. Move immediately to the next step; otherwise the mixture might set in the pan.

Rinse 24 2-ounce bowls with cold water. Fill with the agar agar mixture and let rest until it's completely cool. 

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with fresh red currants.

Bon appétit!


Tips

Superfine sugar is very convenient for desserts. It's also called caster sugar or baker's sugar. It dissolves more quickly than regular granulated sugar.

Agar agar powder is a good gelatin substitute for vegetarians. It creates the same texture and doesn't alter the taste of the dessert. It is widely used in Asia.I also use it to make fruit mousses such as egg-free banana mousse or chestnut mousse. I buy the Thai Telephone Brand, which is sold in 25-gram packages. (FIY 0.88 oz = 25 g).

I didn't add cream for a richer flavor. I didn't want to add more calories to the vegan dessert, but you could add coconut milk.

You could use any vegan milk such as almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk or soy milk.

I used Manuka honey from New Zealand; I found it at a local store. You can also find it online.

This recipe yields 24 (2-ounce) mini-bowls. Count 2 bowls per person.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 29, 2014.


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