Let’s face it: who doesn’t like a good, wobbly panna cotta? The recipe for panna cotta is a simple and old one, and it is commonly prepared throughout the Italian peninsula (and the rest of the globe too) using gelatine, or as we call it in Italy, “colla di pesce”. Many people attempt to create a plant-based version of this sweet delicacy on a daily basis, but when you use gelling agents like agar agar or carrageen, it becomes very difficult to obtain a proper wobble. Why, you might ask? Because plant-based gelling agents must be used in very small concentrations compared to regular gelatine, which is why precision is key with this one. You can prepare this dessert in about 20 minutes, and after a little setting in the fridge (about a couple of hours), be ready to taste something that is verging on being unreal when it comes to flavour and consistency. We used mango to serve this one, but this panna cotta is a basic version, and will go well with most fruit purées, coulis, compotes... you name it!
- Mix half of the sugar with the agar agar and the other half with the yogurt.
- Grease 4 pudding basins with a clear oil.
- In a saucepan, mix the milk, the cream, the sugar/agar mixture, the vanilla, the lemon zest, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes while stirring, so that the agar agar hydrates properly, and then turn off the heat.
- Add the yogurt/sugar mixture into the pan and stir well.
- Immediately strain the mixture through a fine sieve directly into the pudding moulds, and place the moulds in the fridge to set for a minimum of 2 hours, or, even better, 4 hours.
- Once ready, mix the mango pulp with water, unmould the panna cotta onto a dish, and serve together with the fruit purée.
- Mango pulp is a cheap and delicious option available pretty much anywhere in the world, and it is generally sold by indian food stores. However, this panna cotta can also be served with fruit coulis, chocolate sauce, custard, or simply with some fresh fruit mixed with sugar and left to macerate for 20 minutes, as we did with our cheesecake recipe. Make sure to use simple flavours here, as the hero must remain the panna cotta.