We are in the second half of Lent and as the weather gets hotter we thought of making a dessert with almond milk. In our new, sweet article we will make a fasting and vegan panna cotta with almond milk and agar agar, we will learn about these ingredients and we will get ideas on how we can use them.
Almonds are the most nutritious nuts. We read that they contain vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, protein, fiber and iron, but also only unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, ie good fats.
Almond milk is made in a relatively simple way. The almonds and water are blended together and then strained to separate the mass from the milk. It is therefore easy to make homemade almond milk, if we feel like doing so!
While we were imagining that almond milk would retain many of the nutrients in the almond, we learned that this is not the case. The bitter truth is that almond milk consists mainly of water! Only 20 g almonds are used per liter of almond milk. Unlike soy milk, almond milk contains only 5 g. protein per liter.
Fortunately, almond milk also has its positive side: it has very few calories, it can replace cow’s milk for those who are lactose intolerant and it contains the same amount of calcium per glass than cow’s milk. It is therefore a healthy choice for those who are fasting and for those who follow a vegan diet.
The second ingredient we will use to make our panna cotta is agar agar. You have probably heard it on cooking shows on TV. Agar agar is the plant alternative to gelatin, which is of animal origin. We read that agar comes from a species of red seaweed from Southeast Asia. The word agar in Malay means jelly.
As for its use, agar agar acts as a thickening agent in many foods, such as jellies, soups, sauces, desserts, ice creams and more. It is used in brewing, and also as a paper coating material. It can moreover act as a laxative and as an appetite suppressant.
To produce agar agar the seaweed is first boiled, then cooled, cleaned and dried. We will find it as flakes, grains or powder. Agar agar has no calories, does not contain carbohydrates, sugar and fat and is rich in fiber.
To use agar agar in a recipe, we must dissolve it in boiling liquid, since agar agar is activated at 82°C, as the Gastronomos magazine advises. It has several differences from gelatin. One of its advantages is that it coagulates much faster than gelatin, at room temperature. Also, if the mixture turns out to be thinner or thicker than we wanted, we can reheat it and add liquid or agar agar. Another difference is that agar agar mixtures come out tighter and more creamy.
Elsewhere we read that while sweets with gelatin melt in the mouth, the same does not happen with agar agar which melts at a higher temperature. This property of agar agar makes it a very popular ingredient in countries with hot climates.
We chose these two ingredients, almond milk and agar agar to experiment with the texture and taste of panna cotta. The original recipe for panna cotta contains heavy cream, so with only almond milk we expect a lighter texture. However, the second element that we will put in our panna cotta is agar agar, which tightens the mixture. All we have to do is try it and tell you…
A previous article about panna cotta can be found here:
Vegan almond panna cotta
Ingredients for almond panna cotta
|Almond milk||1 liter|
|Agar agar||9 gr|
|Soumada (a sweet almond syrup, optional)||2 tbs|
|Brown sugar||1 tsp|
How to make the vegan panna cotta
Our first step is to make the caramelized almonds. Melt the brown sugar in a pan and as soon as it gets a nice caramel color, add the almonds and stir constantly, until they caramelize.
Then weigh the agar agar carefully, because it is important to put the right amount so that our dessert has a nice creamy texture.
Heat the almond milk, add the agar agar and mix well to dissolve the agar agar. Let the milk boil.
A little secret!
If we want to enhance the taste of almonds we can add a little soumada, a Greek concetrated almond syrup!
After the milk boils, pour it into a bowl lined with cling film so that your panna cotta comes out more easily. Place in the refrigerator for several hours until the mixture stabilizes.
Once you see that the mixture has thickened, turn the bowl over on a plate or platter, remove the cling film and enjoy our creation, a shiny, trembling panna cotta.
Our panna cotta with almond milk and agar agar came out tight and creamy, a very enjoyable texture… Try it! Good sweet creations to all!
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