Almond pannacotta with cacao and carob sauce and prickly pears

by Alice on novembre 28, 2009

Almond pannacotta with cacao and carob sauce and prickly pears


For the pannacotta

350 ml almond milk
150 ml almond cream (or other vegetable cream, preferably rice based cream)
3 tablespoons agave syrup
a pinch of vanilla powder
2 1/2 teaspoons agar agar powder

For the cacao and carob sauce

2 teaspoons cacao powder
4 teaspoons carob powder
2 teaspoons tahin
4 teaspoons agave syrup
3 teaspoons raw almond cream
9 teaspoons almond milk

To complete

2-3 fresh prickly pears, peeled and crushed or puréed just before serving
agave syrup, to taste

Makes 4 servings.

Almond pannacotta with cacao and carob sauce and prickly pears

To make the pannacottas, pour the milk and cream into a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Add the agave and the vanilla and stir well. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the agar agar and keep stirring until dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful as the mixture might stick to the bottom of the saucepan if left for too long without stirring. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the mixture into small pudding molds. Set aside and allow to cool -first at room temperature and then in the fridge- for at least 2 to 3 hours. You can unmold the pannacottas when they are cold and completely firm.

To make the cacao and carob sauce, whisk the cacao powder, carob powder, tahin, agave syrup, almond cream and milk together. Keep refrigerated until shortly before serving.

Almond pannacotta with cacao and carob sauce and prickly pears

To serve, place the pannacottas on the individual serving plates, pour some cacao and carob sauce over them, mix the prickly pear pulp with the agave syrup and complete the dessert presentation. Serve immediately.

Posted in: autumn,chocolate,desserts,fruits,gluten-free

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alessandra novembre 29, 2009 alle 00:26

Yum! This looks great.

But can you allow me a little observation? Hope I won’t sound rude…

The amount of agar agar seems a lot to me, it must make it into a quite solid pannacotta.
if I make it with one litre of cream (or half milk half cream – I am not vegan, just a vegetarian) i use only two thrids of a tsp of agar agar, and if I make a blancmange for 500 ml of almond milk I only use half a tsp of agar agar.

This is after many trials, as I like to have the pannacotta quite soft and creamy, rather than ‘crunchy’, as it may happen sometimes when using agar agar.
But it may also depend on the brand, usually I find Telephone brand here.

2 Mihl novembre 29, 2009 alle 00:33

What an awesome recipe! I haven’t had any panna cotta in ages. Thank you so much for posting this recipe.

3 Alice novembre 29, 2009 alle 14:23

Alessandra, of course any observation is welcome! I usually use 3 teaspoons powdered agar agar for 500 ml liquid (like fruit juices for instance). In this case 2 1/2 teaspoons are enough because I’m using almond cream which makes the mixture a little bit thicker (probably even 2 teaspoons would be fine). I would never be able to get a jelly-like, firm texture with only half a teaspoon of agar agar for 500 ml almond milk, it would fall apart. Maybe it does really depend on the brand. I’ve tried many times in the past and I can assure you that with the brands I use the almond milk would simply not hold together (half a teaspoon of agar agar for 500 ml). Plus, dairy cream and milk are richer (fatter!) than vegetable milk and cream like those I use here, so the amount of agar required might be a lot different. I like the final result to be thick and firm and easy to unmold.
Here you do get a slightly fatter, creamier consistency (thanks to the almond cream) which prevents the pannacotta from turning crunchy, but which is however less rich and less ‘full’ than the creamy feel of dairy based products. I think comparing ordinary, dairy based desserts such as pannacotta or other puddings to the vegan version of them is always tricky (although obvious and natural!) as the result can be a lot different and requires us to get used to completely new textures (probably in this particular recipe the term ‘pannacotta’ is a bit confusing!). I wish you could have tried the one in the picture in order to chat about it :)
Hope I didn’t sound rude!

4 Alice novembre 29, 2009 alle 14:24

Mihl, thanks a lot!

5 Claudia novembre 29, 2009 alle 16:45

so sweet

6 Alice novembre 30, 2009 alle 05:05

Claudia, thank you!

7 Alessandra novembre 30, 2009 alle 14:06

Ciao Alice,

Very happy to see your reply!

I will certainly try Alice, I only have to find some almond cream (or other vegetable cream) since I have never seen it here, maybe I will ask my local organic store…the only alternative I can think of is coconut cream, but then I will end up with a coconut pannacotta :-).

It is also true that I could have made the recipe before commenting, but believe me, I am not the kind of person who would make a comment on a recipe without trying it just for the sake of commenting hehehehe. I have been using agar agar for over 20 years now (oh no, I am giving away my age here!!!!!!) and I have published recipes using agar agar for over a decade now: it is much more difficult to use than gelatin for consistency, and I have also noticed that if you mix two liquids, one fatter than the other (i.e. milk and cream, which in NZ is only of one type and veeeeeery fat – single cream does not exist here!) when cooling the cream will rise to the top (which will become the bottom once you tip the dessert upside down) and this can be fun the you want a two layers dessert, but not when you want a pannacotta of one colour (in this case I only use cream, and no milk). Looking at your photo I can imagine the almond cream (and I repeat imagine – since I haven’t seen it here) to have a very modest fat content respect to the almond milk, since the two didn’t separate during cooling. The only other way to avoid separation is to add a binder like flour, eggs, some sort of starch, or emulsifiers…is it possible that the almond cream contains emulsifiers?

Yes, maybe you are right the name pannacotta can be deceiving because it conjures immediately those velvety sensations to the palate (I am talking about proper panna cotta here – not those things that people make with sachets of powder…). But since your dessert is based on almond milk if you like you can always call it blancmange, or biancomangiare. :-)

If you don’t think that I have been rude, and you welcome comments, I certainly don’t think that you would sound rude in replying! A blog is also interesting when it is interactive and even the posts/discussions are something to read and think about. Too many bloggers around delete any comment which is not ‘pretty’ or gratifying, and too many replies are just random free compliments (sometimes even without properly reading the recipe/topic) to get web presence.

Also I could talk about food for hours without ever tiring…and if you are the same we are set baby!!!

8 Alice dicembre 1, 2009 alle 05:45

The almond cream I use does contain emulsifiers. The ingredients are water, almond oil, almonds, agave syrup, sunflower lecithin, xanthane gum, Arabic gum, sea salt and natural almond flavouring.

I often use coconut cream to make some desserts, I also use it for a coconut pannacotta but in that case I rarely have to use agar agar as the richness and firmness you get with coconut is enough I think (texture is perfect but sometimes we don’t want the coconut flavour!). Basically, if I don’t use enough agar agar with the almond milk/cream mixture the result is too watery, as the fat content is lower. I’ll be making more with different ingredients, too!

9 Alessandra dicembre 2, 2009 alle 02:42

I want to try that almond cream!!!!!!!!!! ;-D

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