Ohhh panna cotta. Back when I was vegetarian, it was my absolute favourite dessert.
Yeah ok, so I know it was never even really vegetarian because it’s typically made with gelatin, but I loved it so much I tried not to think about that. That was back in the “ignorance is bliss” days! (I’m more of a “knowledge is power” kinda girl these days 😉
I don’t really know why I avoided attempting a vegan panna cotta recipe for so long, because it turned out to be so so easy and so darn delicious.
This is definitely one to bookmark for entertaining, or just a healthier weeknight dessert that’s just as decadent as the original version. Yum scrum.
Agar Agar… Heya Heya!
Agar agar is the gelatin substitute in this recipe. It’s a derivative of red algae – which (if you’re like me) is a lot less freaky than where gelatin is derived from.
There’s a few key differences that you should be aware of before you start experimenting with it.
The first, is that it sets quite a lot firmer than gelatin. The first time I used it while making a no-bake vegan cheesecake, I overdid it bigtime and the result was inedible. It was like rubber – yuck.
The second, is that it’s available in both powdered and flaked forms, and each have a different amount needed to set a cup of fluid. For every teaspoon of powdered agar, you need 1 tablespoon of the flaked stuff.
I’ve included both options in this recipe, but the amount used produces a consistency that’s just right for this vegan pannacotta… it’s super silky yet just firm enough to not fall apart into a gloopy mess.
The third key to working with agar agar successfully is to boil it with the liquid for a minimum of 5 minutes while stirring. It’s the heat that activates the gelatinous properties of the agar, so there’s no skipping this step!
The Blueberry Syrup
These panna cottas can be served with just about any flavour you can think of, but this blueberry syrup is just simple and delicious.
It’s thickened with just a touch of tapioca flour, as this gives it a nicer consistency – but you can always drop the tapioca altogether for a thinner syrup as it doesn’t affect the flavour.
Top them off with with a few fresh or frozen blueberries and you have yourself a gorgeous little plant-based treat (or 4)!
A simple and decadent plant-based dessert
- 600 ml coconut cream (1.5 cans)
- 1/2 tsp powdered agar agar (or 1/2 tbsp of the flakes)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- macadamia oil (or other mild-tasting oil) for greasing
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp tapioca flour (mixed w/ 2 tsp water to form a thin paste)
Bring all the panna cotta ingredients to a gentle boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Lightly grease 4 x ramekins (200ml+ capacity) with the oil.
Pour the warm mixture into the ramekins and refrigerate for 3 hours until set.
Once set, flip the panna cottas onto serving plates (you may need to very gently run a butter knife around the edges of each ramekin to loosen them).
While the panna cottas are setting, prepare the syrup by whisking all ingredients together in a small saucepan, bringing them to a gentle simmer for 5-7 minutes, then blending till smooth. Allow to cool at room temperature and stir well before serving.
Drizzle the cool syrup onto the panna cottas and garnish with extra blueberries (optional) and fresh mint sprigs. Deliziosa!