Today I watched Ina make a classic Italian panna cotta recipe, literally translated to "cooked cream." Inspired by the unusual additions of yogurt and orange liqueur, I tweaked her recipe to create a vegan, dairy free version containing healthier fat and sweetness from coconut milk, coconut yogurt, and maple syrup. Using agar agar, a plant-based seaweed, instead of gelatin makes it a vegan dessert.
Many of my recipes here on my blog and in my book Gutsy contain healthy ingredient swaps for recipes I can no longer eat by Ina and other inspiring chefs. Here's my tip for substitutions: think through the flavor profile and purpose of the ingredient you wish to replace and have fun with a little trial and error.
COCONUT RASPBERRY PANNA COTTA
This delicious dessert is a dairy-free, vegan version of the Italian classic. It's easy and very impressive!
For the panna cotta:
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup rich, unsweetened coconut yogurt (I used Cocojune plain variety)
3 T maple syrup
2 t Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1/2 t agar agar
For the raspberry jam topping:
2 pints of fresh raspberries or about 50 frozen raspberries
2 T chia seeds
2 T maple syrup
1 T Chambord or other raspberry liqueur, optional
Panna cotta: Add first six ingredients to a saucepan. Whisk together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add agar agar and whisk immediately. Continue whisking and simmering for two minutes. Turn off heat. Pour or spoon mixture into 5 small glasses or Ball jars. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until firmer and bouncy to the touch. You can make this a day or two in advance; it'll keep well in the fridge.
Raspberry jam: While the panna cotta is chilling, place the first 4 topping ingredients in a saucepan. Over medium low heat, stir frequently until the raspberries break down and become juicy. Turn off heat. Cover and let come to room temperature. Or refrigerate, and bring to room temperature when ready to use. Top the panna cotta with the raspberry jam. Enjoy!