Vegan Panna Cotta with Almond Brittle
Alisa Fleming ~ There seems to be a dairy-free alternative for just about every dairy-full food on the market. A few years ago, soy yogurt was a huge novelty. But today, we not only have several brands of soy, almond, coconut, and rice yogurts, but companies are also pursuing the “Greek-Style” trend. I absolutely adore the Greek-style almond yogurts from So Delicious, and you die hard coconut fans might want to look into their Greek-style coconut yogurts. For general consumption, I prefer the smooth and creamy texture of the almond yogurts, but the Greek-style coconut varieties are so incredibly thick that they can be surprisingly useful in recipes.
Sarah uses the Plain Greek-style yogurt to make an award-winning (literally!) Dairy-Free Carrot Cake Ice Cream, and Hannah proves its value in creating a luxurious vegan panna cotta.
Hannah heightens the flavor of this dessert with rose water, but don’t be afraid to use the vegan panna cotta recipe as a blank canvas. I’m boring, I’d probably go with plain old vanilla. Nonetheless, you adventurous types can start with the rose water and experiment from there. And did I mention that this is really three recipes in one? Hannah starts with the vegan panna cotta, drizzles it with a homemade Hibiscus Sauce, and tops with Almond Brittle. While she was at it, she added some mint leaves, pomegranate arils, and orange segments for an edible presentation. If you want to impress your holiday guests, this is the recipe!
Thanks and credits to my friend Hannah of Bittersweet for sharing this amazing vegan panna cotta recipe and photo with us.
Vegan Panna Cotta with Almond Brittle
- 2 Cups Cold Water
- 3 Bags Hibiscus Tea
- ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Orange Zest
- 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 2 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
- ⅛ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- Pinch Salt
- 1 Cup Sliced, Toasted Almonds
- Pomegranate Arils
- Orange Supremes
- Fresh Mint Leaves
- Lightly grease six 3-1/2-Inch fluted mini tart or brioche molds and place them on a sheet pan for easier maneuvering. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, vigorously whisk together the agar, “milk,” and sugar until there are no lumps remaining. Set the pan over medium-low heat, and gently whisk until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Take the pan off the stove to stir in both the “sour cream” and coconut yogurt, mixing until smooth, and then return it to the heat very briefly. Cook the mixture just until bubbles begin to slowly break on the surface, whisking the whole time. Add in the rose water and vanilla, whisk to incorporate, and quickly transfer the contents of the saucepan to your prepared molds. Gently tap each one on the counter to knock out any air bubbles before smoothing out the tops with a spatula. Let cool completely at room temperature before thoroughly chilling.
- For the hibiscus sauce, plunk the tea bags into the water in a small saucepan. Place it on the stove over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat and cover, allowing the tea to steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Once deeply rose red in hue, remove the tea bags and allow the excess liquid to drip out, but do not squeeze them- This will cloud the mixture. Separately, stir together the sugar, orange zest, and cornstarch until thoroughly combined, and add these dry goods into the saucepan. Return it to the heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid bubbling and fully thickened. Let cool before chilling in the fridge.
- To make the almond brittle, begin by combining the sugar, water, corn syrup, cinnamon, and salt in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Resist the urge to stir, and gently swirl the pan to mix the contents instead. Bring the mixture up to a boil, and continue to cool until the sugar caramelizes and turns a pale amber color. Meanwhile, set out a silpat or piece of parchment paper nearby where the brittle can come to rest. Once the sugar syrup has reached the right shade of golden brown, quickly stir in the sliced almonds to coat them evenly in the mixture, and waste no time in pouring everything onto your prepared silpat or parchment. Smooth out the brittle into as thin a layer as possible. Let cool completely before breaking it into pieces.
- To serve, spoon about ¼ – ⅓ cup of the hibiscus sauce onto the plate, and turn out one panna cotta on top. Wedge a piece of the almond brittle into the crest of the panna cotta, fan out three citrus surpremes alongside, and sprinkle pomegranate arils on top. Finish it all off with a few mint leaves to garnish. Repeat for the remaining plates.