Panna cotta is a simple, elegant dessert that’s perfect for the berry season or warmer weather. This classic Italian dessert is infused with vanilla, rich and creamy, just like the real thing. It’s also beautiful. Prepare it for a dessert party or to enjoy it all week long (because you deserve it).
Bonus? This recipe is naturally sweetened, and it comes together quickly with only one pan. We’ll show you exactly how to make it!
What is Panna Cotta?
Panna cotta, an Italian dessert, is traditionally made with cream, sugar, and gelatin. It can also be flavored, such as with coffee or vanilla. The mixture is heated and then poured into the mold. This creates a rich, creamy, thick dessert.
The dish was thought to have originated in northern Italy in the early 1900s, but the name Panna cotta did not appear in Italian cookbooks until the 1960s. The dessert became popular all over the world, including in fancy restaurants.
How to make vegan Panna Cotta
In our vegan-inspired version, we swap the cream with thick, full-fat coconut milk and the gelatin with agar-agar powder. We warm the coconut milk with maple syrup and vanilla to give it a classic flavor. Salt is added for balance.
Then, divide the mixture into serving jars. Transfer them to the fridge to set. It’s really easy to make, right?
We prepare a simple berry top by heating mixed fresh or frozen berries to a warm, bubbly state. The combination of vanilla, coconut, and berries is a delicious one, but you can use any fruit of your choice to top the dessert.
After cooling, the pannacotta becomes firmer and more bouncy. It is now ready to be topped with the berry mix and enjoyed!
- 1 (14 oz.) Can full-fat coconut Milk
- Maple syrup, 1/4 cup (amber for the best flavor and color // brown rice syrup can be substituted)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Agar agar (powder ): 1/2 tsp
- We like to use blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
- Fresh mint leaves
- PANNA COTTA: Place four small glasses or mason jars or stemless wine glasses (we prefer small Weck Jars // to adjust the default number of servings; you can use more or fewer containers).
- Add coconut milk, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and salt to a small or medium saucepan and whisk together. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over a low-medium flame.
- As soon as the water boils, turn down the heat and sprinkle the agar-agar powder. Whisk immediately. Allow to simmer for two minutes while whisking constantly.
- Then, divide the mixture equally between the glasses (1/2 a cup each) and place them into the refrigerator for 25-35 minutes or until they are slightly bouncy.
- Just before serving the berries, prepare them. Defrost frozen berries in a microwave or small saucepan until they are no longer cold. Use fresh berries in a small pan and cook on low-medium, stirring frequently, until bubbly. If you want to add maple syrup, taste the mixture and adjust the sweetness if necessary.
- Top pannacotta when ready to serve with warm mixed berries (optionally) and fresh mint leaves.
- Keep leftover pannacotta in the fridge for 3-4 days. Not suitable for freezing.