My first exposure to Panna Cotta came from Instagram where variations of the cream and gelatin-based treat have shown up increasingly on my feed. The platform makes an ideal showcase for the simple but very photogenic Italian dessert. Every time I’ve seen one, moulded into a perfect cylinder or served elegantly in a glass, as seems to be the style now, with the pop of fruit coulis colour, I’ve thought that maybe I should try and come up with a vegan version. You may think that gelatin and cream would be hard ingredients to replicate with plant-based products, but that is not necessarily the case. Coconut milk and/or cream stand in very well for cream in most recipes and the gelatin… well there’s this magical little product called agar. Agar is made from seaweed and works perfectly as a gelatin substitute. This is my first experience with using agar flakes and I’m very impressed the results. It gives this recipe the perfect creamy texture.
A note on coconut cream versus coconut milk. Coconut milk has a more liquid consistency whereas coconut cream is blended with less water and has more thickness. You could attempt to just use more coconut milk in replacement of the cream, but it may not give you the appropriate consistency.
Ingredients (makes six servings):
2 x 400ml cans of coconut milk
2 x 160ml cans of coconut cream
2 tbsp of agar flakes
1 tbsp of vanilla
3/4 cup of sugar
Optional toppings: Fruit, chocolate shavings
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a medium pot. Turn on the stove to high and continue stirring until the mixture boils. Remove from heat.
2. Divide the mixture evenly into six ramekins. Leave to chill in the fridge overnight.
3. Ideally the Panna Cotta’s come out smoothly when you flip the ramekins, but you may want to take a knife and run it around the edge before trying to get it out.
4. Top with fruit and chocolate and enjoy!