Grab two ingredients and create a versatile, simple dessert that can be flavored further with any toppings you choose.
By Alison Marras
If you google “panna cotta”… you’ll quickly find everyone calling it “the perfect dessert” lately. Let’s talk about some reasons why… shall we? It’s easy, it’s adorable, and it’s delicious.
Turns out you only need two ingredients to create this magic: coconut milk + agar agar and BAM, you have yourself a dessert. Agar agar behaves like gelatin, but is plant-derived, so it’s totally vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. It’s odorless and tasteless, so it’s super flexible! You can find it in the Asian food aisle of your grocery store.
To the mixture, you can add sugar, vanilla and flavored extracts even, but I wanted to try it out in it’s simplest form first with some toppings. But I can certainly see plenty of possibilities with this… It’s a must try. Not only will you impress your guests, but quite frankly, yourself too.
Note, if you choose to top the dessert with honey it may no longer be vegan.
- 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tbsp agar agar flakes or 1 tsp agar agar powder (I happened to have the flakes)
- 3+ dried figs, sliced
- 3+ tsp honey
- Stir the can of coconut milk and pour into a small saucepan with agar agar, stir briefly and let sit without heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease 3 ramekins and set aside.
- Turn the stove on to medium and bring to a small boil, after small bubbles have formed start stirring frequently and let simmer on medium-low for approx. 10 mins if using flakes, and approx. 5 mins if using powder.
- Continue stirring and make sure especially with the flakes that the agar agar has completely dissolved. You can move the saucepan around a bit to make sure you don't see any flakes at the bottom and then you're ready.
- Pour mixture into the lightly greased ramekins and let sit for a couple of minutes (if during this step you notice loose flakes, return it to the heat because it will not set if they didn't dissolve).
- Place ramekins in the fridge for approx. 1½ to 2 hours to set.
- Once panna cotta has now set, gather your plates and with a butter knife, lightly scrape along the inside rim to loosen it. Place a plate on top of the ramekin and flip over (you may need to thrust it a little here until it comes out).
- Once panna cotta is plated, add the sliced dried figs and drizzle of honey on top and serve!