Coconut Milk Panna Cotta
with Berry Sauce
This luscious, creamy coconut milk panna cotta is lightly sweetened and set with agar agar in lieu of gelatin for a delicious vegan-friendly, dairy-free dessert. Topped with a simple berry sauce, it’s supple, luxurious, and and a great make-ahead dessert. Smarts: Agar powder is a gelatinous powder derived from marine red algae, making it a great vegan-friendly alternative to gelatin. Unflavored gelatin can be substituted (1:1) but may take several more hours to set, so it’s best to let it chill a minimum of 8 hours, or overnight.
- Coconut milk, full fat - 1 can
- Sugar, granulated - 2 tbsp
- Vanilla extract - 1/8 tsp
- Agar powder - 1 tsp
- Strawberries, fresh - 1 cup , quartered
- Raspberries, fresh - 1/2 cup
- Lemon juice - 1 1/2 tsp
- Sugar, granulated - 3 tbsp
- Cornstarch (opt) - 1/2 tsp
- If you plan to serve the panna cotta on a plate (i.e. take them out of the mold), grease four small bowls or ramekins with coconut oil and set aside.
- Strawberries - Quarter strawberries.
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- In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, sugar, vanilla extract and agar powder. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat. Using a small whisk, gently stir to dissolve the sugar and agar powder and bring the coconut milk to a gentle simmer, so just the edges are bubbling and the mixture is giving off steam. Do not boil. If you have an instant digital thermometer, you want the mixture to reach 185-190F.
- Remove the pan from the heat and divide into the prepared bowls or ramekins (a generous 1/3 cup each). Let cool on the counter for 15-30 minutes. Transfer panna cottas to the refrigerator until firm and chilled through, at least 3 hours or overnight.
- While panna cottas are chilling, in a small saucepan combine lemon juice, sugar, and half the berries. Bring to a low boil over medium heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until syrupy.
- For a slightly thicker sauce (like the one pictured), dissolve cornstarch or arrowroot in an equal amount of water and stir into the berry mixture, cooking for another 30 seconds to activate the starch. Stir in remaining fresh berries and remove the pan from the heat. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature or just slightly warm before spooning over the panna cottas.
- To remove the panna cotta, place each bowl or ramekin in 1-2 inches of hot water for 30-60 seconds, making sure water does not go over the top edges. This will loosen the panna cotta and make it easier to plate.
- Top each panna cotta generously with berry sauce (about 3 tablespoons each) just before serving. Enjoy!