Strawberry Basil Pannacotta
Do you like strawberries? And how about basil? Do you know that you can now combine them in a fresh, creamy, and light Italian dessert? Find the recipe for this vegan pannacotta in the post.
The pannacotta is made of alternating layers of:
fresh strawberry jelly
Pannacotta (or "cooked cream") is an Italian dessert that is usually made with four ingredients: cream, sugar, vanilla, and gelatin. It is a light dessert with delicate flavors.
Pannacotta is versatile and can be transformed into a plant-based dessert by replacing whole milk with plant-based milk, and gelatine with agar-agar. In this recipe, I use a combination of oat milk and coconut milk to add richness to the pannacotta. You can substitute the oat milk for almond, cashew, soya, or even coconut milk.
The agar-agar acts as a jellifying agent for the milk. The agar-agar gets activated once the milk boils. It is important to note that the longer the boiling, the stronger the jellifying. To obtain the desired light texture of the pannacotta, I recommend removing the milk from the heat about 30 seconds after it starts boiling. Boiling the milk for any time between 20 and 30 seconds is optimal to prevent over-jellifying.
Finally, to sweeten the pannacotta I add maple syrup. Maple syrup could also be substituted, for example, with any liquid sweetener (honey, date syrup, etc.) or sugar.
Strawberries and basil - one great combination
A touch of basil makes the pannacotta in this recipe taste fresh and unconventional. The basil adds a gentle flavor to the dessert without overpowering it. The basil is infused into the milk and a hint of vanilla compliments it. Even though most people often add basil to savory dishes, the spice works exceptionally well in desserts, especially in combination with lemon and/or strawberries.
That is one reason this pannacotta is full of fresh strawberries. Strawberries are still in season and one great way to enjoy them is in desserts. The strawberry jelly for the pannacotta is made from scratch from ripe fresh strawberries. You can place it on top of the pannacotta or mix the pannacotta and strawberry layers as I did for this recipe (and as shown in the photos). Let us now jump to the recipe.
150 ml oat milk*
150 ml coconut milk
60 ml maple syrup
1 g agar-agar
3-4 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp vanilla
200 g fresh strawberries
10 ml maple syrup
1 g agar-agar
Combine all the ingredients in a pot. Stir to dissolve the agar-agar.
Place the pot on the stove at medium-high heat.
Let the milk come to a boil while stirring occasionally. Let it boil for 20 to 30 seconds before removing it from the heat.
Remove the basil leaves and transfer the milk to glass jars.
Place them in the fridge to set.
Puree the strawberries using a blender or a fork.
Add the puree as well as the rest of the ingredients to a pot on the stove.
Cook on medium-high heat until the mixture boils and then remove it from the heat.
Let the mixture cool down slightly and transfer it over the pannacotta.**
Place back in the fridge to set.
Finally, garnish with fresh fruit.
That is such an easy dessert to make, extremely light, and ideal for summer days. I hope you like it too! Let me know if you try it out, it always means a lot to me when you share your dessert creations.
Serves 2 to 3 jars of pannacotta.
Notes: * You can replace it with any other plant-based milk.
** You can also alternate between pannacotta layers and strawberry jelly as shown in the photos.
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