Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Vegan Panna Cotta with Stewed Cherries

It's only a week into the new year and I've already fulfilled one of my new years goals.  I'd say that bodes pretty well for the rest of the year.

Throughout my life there have been countless attempts at very unsuccessful gelatin desserts with the panna cotta dinner party disaster almost a year ago being the latest in a long line of less than delicious runny creations.  I decided to shun gelatin all together wondering if perhaps we just weren't destined to get along and moved onto the vegan friendly variety, agar agar, a seaweed concoction so great you have to say it twice. 

I've know about this gelatinous variation for a while now, hearing that it's more user friendly and nearly impossible to screw up but the price tag was keeping me from experimenting with it.  The tiny bags of it are around $15 dollars at Whole Foods.   Which was more of a commitment than I was willing to go into for something I might only use once especially considering I just spent the same amount on xanthan gum recently to forge my way into gluten free baking.  Then on a trip through every Asian grocery store in Madison I saw huge bricks of it for less than a dollar and bought some.

So the other night when I needed a fairly quick dessert I pulled out a vegan panna cotta recipe from the goddess of those creamy little desserts and hoped for the best.  Given that it was coconut milk and agave nectar I knew it would still be tasty if it didn't set so it wouldn't be a total bust but I was really hoping for lovely little white custards to top with the left over cherry sauce from a David Lebovitz I had in the refrigerator (which is easy and works just fine with frozen cherries.) 

And that was exactly what I ended up with!  They were gorgeous.  Perfect little cups of sweet coconut custard with a creamy mouth filling texture.  They weren't too cloyingly sweet and so were divine with the stewed cherries.  I was so pleased with them and how delicious they were I had to, there wasn't a person on earth that could have kept me from the bliss that was putting coconut pan cotta in my mouth for the second time after so many failures.

So happy 2010 to me I've conquered gelatin, kind of sort of.  Now I guess I'll have to give the real thing another go.   Seeing as I could gladly eat panna cotta in all of it's variations every day this won't be a problem.

Vegan Panna Cotta

1 and 1/4 cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/2 block, crumbled or 2 teaspoons agar agar powder
1 cup soy yogurt(regular yogurt will work fine but make for a thinner consistency)

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan combine the coconut milk, agave nectar and agar agar. Let stand 5 minutes. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, 8 minutes, or until agar has mostly dissolved (there will be some flecks of translucent agar in mixture), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Strain mixture through fine-mesh sieve into small pitcher or measuring cup. Whisk in yogurt and vanilla until smooth. Pour into 4 individual ramekins/custard cups.  Transfer to refrigerator. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour until set.

To serve, immerse bottom half of ramekin or custard cup in hot water about 15 seconds. Run a clean small knife around edge to loosen. Invert onto dessert plate.  Serve with David Lebovitz's amazing stewed cherries.

Original recipe from Enlightened cooking blog.

1 comment:

Monsignor Scott Rassbach said...

Hey, can you make these again soon? They were very, very tasty.