Desserts

Vegan Coconut Panna Cotta

Family Sunday lunch is always something special. Following the traditions of his parents, my husband sits on the table well dressed and freshly shaved. Cooking for him is always easy – a Sunday roast with baked potatoes, lightly grilled fresh green asparagus and delicious Porto brown sauce… But with our daughter turning vegan, we have a challenge in our family cuisine.

Shall we fallow in her footsteps and make one vegan dish for all or shall we stick to our tried and tested family favourite recipes and making everyone happy, cook two different dishes instead of one? This classical dilemma will need further contemplation in front of every special meal, but for the time bing we are content to compromise on the dessert. Light and easy, this vegan panna cotta is not only quick to make, but it is indeed a healthy option for the summer season. Who would not wish to enjoy a delicious dessert, pack full of flavour and less on calories?

Setting the coconut milk to simmer I am discovering a new ingredient, suspecting that Agar-agar will be my new kitchen friend. Coming from Asia, Agar-agar is a natural vegetable gelatine counterpart. White and semi-translucent, it is sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form. It can be used to make jellies, puddings, and custards.

It is extremely easy to use and our panna cottas turn to be an absolute perfection. Embracing an open mind for a healthier lifestyle and the most likely new culinary experimentations, we enjoy our Sunday lunch excited for the future and in peace.

Ingredients

Serves 2
  • 400ml full fat coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp agar agar powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • mango
  • raspberries
  • fresh mint leaves

Method

1. Place agar agar, maple syrup, coconut milk and vanilla essence to a small pot and bring to the boil then turn it down to a simmer. Cook for about 2-3 minutes whisking it constantly.
2. Pour the mixture into 2 crystal glasses and set aside. Once cold, chill in the fridge for at least 1-2 hour.
3. Before serving, decorate the panna cotta with a selection of fresh fruits (I am using strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and mango) and fresh mint leaves.

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