Panna cotta is something that since I turned vegetarian, has largely been off the menu. But no more! I discovered something quite magical when I was doing my monthly shop – Vege Gel! This amazing sachet of powder is a vegetarian-friendly setting agent that can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes!
I had a carton of soya cream in my cupboard, along with some over-ripe strawberries and I knew what I had to do. It was panna cotta time…
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this creamy, dish of loveliness – Panna cotta is a traditional Italian dessert of set, flavoured cream. Popular flavours are vanilla, coffee and caramel. It is delicious, sadly one of the main ingredients of panna cotta is gelatin – boo! So I was pretty excited when I discovered this vegetarian-friendly setting agent.
One of the best things about this recipe is that it is so simple to make, but it exudes elegance. It is the perfect dessert for special occasions and it looks oh-so beautiful. I love how the delicate pink of the pudding is set off by the vibrant green of the pistachios. The flavours of the pudding themselves are wonderfully aromatic. Subtle notes of rose water, sweet strawberries and flavourful cardamom. Honestly, what is not to like?
I think it is the perfect remedy to this miserable weather we have been experiencing this week!
Here is how I did it!
This recipe makes around 6 ramekins worth of puddings.
- 250ml Soya Cream
- 6 – 8 large, ripe Strawberries
- 300ml Cool Water
- 1 sachet of Vege Gel
- 3 Green Cardamom Pods
- 1 tsp Vanilla Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Rose Water Essence
- 1 heaped tbsp Honey (more depending on how sweet you want the dessert)
- Dehull the strawberries and place into a blender. Add the cream, vanilla powder and rose water essence and blend until smooth.
- Dissolve the vege-gel in the cool water.
- Add the strawberry mixture, the vege gel water, honey and cardamom pods to a pan and slowly bring to a bubbling boil.
- Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Stir every now and then.
- Carefully remove the pods and pour the mixture into 6 ramekins.
- Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight until set.
- Pop out of the ramekins and serve gloriously garnished with chopped pistachios.
I found that the natural settling of the cream and the water mixtures means you end up with two layers. The top of the pudding, once you have turned it out onto a plate, is a thin translucent layer, whilst the cream mixture provides a thick, creamy base.
I love that this recipe has so many intense flavours. It reminds me of our recent trip to Morocco! We had amazing desserts that were flavoured with rose water, pistachios and cardamom, so its nice to bring these flavours together in this recipe.
Of course, the ingredients can be changed! Instead of strawberries you can add orange essence and cacao powder for a Christmas panna cotta! Alternatively you can remove the strawberries, pistachios, cardamom and rose water and have a simple vanilla panna cotta! The possibilities are endless!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Have a good week everyone!