It´s time to eliminate your prejudices – you don’t have prejudices, you say? I bet you have some – two of which I will eliminate in this blog post. First, I am sure you think that “vegan” and “paleo” is mutually exclusive. Well, yes and no. If you are talking lifestyle, then probably yes. If you are talking indulgent desserts, not necessarily. Oh, you say that “paleo” and “indulgent” is mutually exclusive? And that “vegan” and “indulgent” is mutually exclusive? That actually takes us to four prejudices I will get rid of with this post. What is the fourth one, you ask? Well – have you heard of panna cotta? With the possible exception of Italian chefs, the word “panna cotta” is commonly associated with the words “difficult” or “complicated”. But, actually, this could be the easiest dessert you’ll ever make. And yes, you can finally invite your paleo cousin and vegan sister in law to the same dinner party!
The educated among you will know that “panna cotta” is Italian and means as much as cooked or boiled cream. Which already presents the first challenge as dairy cream is neither paleo or vegan. What to do? Coconut to the rescue! If you have followed this blog, you will know that I am a big fan of coconut – coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut cream – you name it. Not only does this versatile gem taste divine, it is also exceptionally healthy. I have mentioned the various health benefits of coconut numerous times, so I suggest you do your research on this.
The second challenge is the gelatin required in traditional panna cotta recipes – though popular among the paleo community – and rightly so – it is a no-go for a vegan or even vegetarian diet. but nature wouldn´t be nature if it hadn´t bestowed us with a worthy alternative – agar, which you can almost use completely interchangeably with gelatin. Voilà! There you have a dessert which boasts healthy fats and is loaded with antioxidants. Win!
1 tin (420 ml) coconut cream, full fat
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
100 g honey
1 tablespoon agar
200 ml boiling water
For the sauce
100 g honey
2 tablespoons raw organic cocoa
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 tin (420 ml) coconut milk
2 tablespoons ground coffee
Heat the cream, vanilla and honey in a saucepan over medium heat until the honey is completely dissolved and everything is well combined. Take off the heat. Boil the agar in the water for five minutes until completely dissolved. Stir into the coconut mass until completely dissolved. Pour the mass into four heat-proof moulds and refrigerate for three hours or until set.
For the sauce, combine all ingredients bar the coffee in a small saucepan over small heat until thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in the coffee until completely dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to use.