Ingredients

225ml almond milk
1 x 400ml can good-quality coconut milk
6 tablespoons unrefined raw sugar
2 teaspoons agar-agar powder
2 tablespoons gluten-free cornflour
1 & 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla-bean paste
100g rhubarb (1 big stalk), ends trimmed and stalks finely chopped
1⁄4 teaspoon lime juice
whipped coconut cream, to serve (optional)
freeze-dried raspberries, to serve (optional)
These vanilla coconut creams are my go-to vegan panna cotta, and these are topped with tart rhubarb jelly. They’re slightly firmer in texture than a traditional gelatine-set dessert due to the use of the plant-based setting agent agar-agar, which is made from algae. Popular throughout South-East Asia, you’ll find it (sometimes referred to simply as ‘agar’) at your local health food or Asian supermarket, though if buying from the latter, make sure you buy plain unflavoured agar as there’s often flavoured agar on offer as well. I recommend always using good-quality coconut milk containing only coconut and water, and free from additives and thickeners (Chantal Organics and Aroy-D both do great ones). If you find your rhubarb stalks are more on the green side of pink, you can add a couple of frozen raspberries to the puree for a natural colour boost.

Instructions

1.Reserve 60ml (1⁄4 cup) of almond milk.
2.Combine the coconut milk, the remaining almond milk, 3 tablespoons of the sugar and 11⁄4 teaspoons of the agar-agar powder in a medium saucepan.
3.Bring to the boil and boil for at least 30 seconds, whisking continuously to stop the agar-agar from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
4.Combine the reserved almond milk, cornflour and vanilla-bean paste in a small bowl until smooth.
5.Whisk into the coconut milk mixture and continue to cook for a further 30 seconds, stirring often.
6.Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes, before pouring into 4 glasses.
7.Set aside until cool and starting to set on the top (unlike gelatine, agar-agar can set at room temperature).
8.When the vanilla coconut creams are set on top (approx 30 minutes), combine the rhubarb, 125ml (1⁄2 cup) of water and the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar in a small saucepan, cover and bring to the boil.
9.Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender and collapsed.
10.Remove from the heat, carefully transfer to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
11.Transfer the rhubarb puree to a small bowl.
12.Combine 125ml (1⁄2 cup) water with the remaining 3⁄4 teaspoon of agar-agar in a small saucepan.
13.Bring to the boil and boil for at least 30 seconds, whisking continuously to stop the agar-agar from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
14.Whisk in the rhubarb puree and continue to cook for a further 30 seconds.
15.Remove from the heat, stir through the lime juice, then set aside to cool for 10 minutes before dividing the mixture between the glasses, spooning it carefully over the top of the panna cotta.
16.Once the jelly is cool, transfer to the fridge and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
17.These will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days.
18.Serve with a dollop of whipped coconut cream and a sprinkle of freeze-dried raspberries, if using.
19.NOTE: Note: To make whipped coconut cream, place a tin of good- quality coconut milk into the fridge overnight.
20.The next day open the tin without shaking, scoop the thick cream off the top and transfer to a bowl (saving the clear liquid underneath for another use).
21.Whip the cream until thick, adding a touch of vanilla extract and/or sweetener of your choice, if you like.

Recipes, food styling & photography Emma Galloway

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