Panna cotta is a popular Italian dessert that combines the uniquely velvety texture of custard with a lightly sweetened, creamy taste. It is often accompanied by a fruit, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, or caramel syrup or sauce. Panna cotta is not only popular for its taste and texture, but also for its surprising simplicity and versatility and last but not least for its looks. Its pearly white, lustrous shape can serve as a wonderful base for any ensemble. Traditionally, however, panna cotta is anything but vegan – it is made from milk cream that is hardened with gelatine. Fortunately, there are now many alternative ingredients that you can use instead. In today’s article, we want to show you a plant-based variation of the recipe that uses coconut milk and agar. In addition to the coconut panna cotta recipe, you will also find helpful tips for hobby confectioners here.
This dessert is vegan, low-carb, low-calorie, and diet-friendly
A recipe that will please the whole family
Coconut panna cotta – important features and differences from the original
Without the gelling agent, panna cotta is nothing more than sweetened milk or cream. However, when the “magic ingredient” is added, the liquid cools into a wobbly, solid mass. The liquid mixture is usually poured into a pretty mold, then refrigerated for a few hours until it sets and takes on the shape of the jar. To serve, the panna cotta is carefully tipped out of the mold onto a plate and garnished. If done correctly, the dessert will come out clean and not stick to the mold. The ingredients should be homogeneous and not have separated. The texture should be firm but creamy.
While gelatin, agar, pectin, and other gelling agents all perform the same function, they all have significantly different preparation methods and end results. For example, agar is a much stronger gelling agent than gelatin, and only small amounts are needed to achieve the desired creaminess. Agar is also firmer and slightly gummy since it is derived from seaweed. The vegan alternative, on the other hand, is completely colourless, tasteless and odorless.
Gelatin and agar cannot be used in a 1 to 1 ratio
Agar powder is a common ingredient in Asian desserts, making it the easiest to find in Asian grocery stores. There you will often discover the ingredient under its Japanese name “kanten”. However, due to its popularity among vegans, this gelling agent is increasingly available in regular supermarkets.
What about the main ingredient of the coconut panna cotta – the coconut milk? Here, too, there are things to consider. If you’re in the store, read the ingredient lists on the cans and find a product that contains some sort of natural emulator. This can be lecithin (E 322), for example, which is obtained from soybeans. This will prevent the coconut fat from separating from the coconut water later once your panna cotta starts to cool.
For best results, choose coconut milk rather than coconut cream or coconut cream
For a tasty coconut panna cotta you need the following ingredients:
- 400 ml canned coconut milk
- 1 tsp agar powder
- 3 tbsp agave syrup or 50 g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ vanilla bean
- A pinch of salt
- coconut oil for brushing
- set of your choice
Step by step recipe instructions:
First brush the selected molds with coconut oil and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk well. The coconut milk must be cold, otherwise the agar will form clumps. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar and agar. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat. Pour into the prepared ramekins, allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight.
Remove the coconut panna cotta from the molds shortly before serving and garnish as desired. Popular side dishes for coconut include chocolate, vanilla, caramel, strawberries, and just about any tropical fruit. Desiccated coconut and chips may indicate the main ingredient of this dessert.
This recipe is foolproof, but delivers incredible results
This coconut panna cotta can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. But by then it will have been eaten long ago, because this vegan, low-carb and low-calorie dessert is irresistibly delicious! We wish you good luck and bon appetit!
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