Food & Drink Magazine

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta with Strawberry Compote

By Weavethousandflavors

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - 02 
Long before it was fashionable, I was brought up on the notion that gelatin was evil.

Made from boiled tendons, skin and other un-mentionable pig parts, it wasn't exactly a revered member of our household pantry and therefore rarely made an appearance.

Growing up on alternate medicine and home remedies and being the grand child of a stout orthodox Jain which for my Nani, naturally translated into being a devout vegetarian, this translated into home made ice creams and desserts using subsitute thickening agents such as corn-starch or simply reducing milk and cream to a point where it lumps and turns into the creamiest richest dessert base. 

I would often see my Ma and Nani hand churn fresh fruit ice creams in the summer and empty it into large metal containers to chill in the freezer. And so for most part my childhood was devoid of gelatin.

It was only when I moved to Singapore that I learned about the Asian substitute to this ingredient, namely Agar-Agar. This, derived from a sea weed and used extensively in Asian desserts including those yummy pudding we so like to grab off the dim-sum cart at weekend brunches at the restaurant.

I was delighted when my friend and fellow blogger Joumana from Taste of Beirut dedicated a whole post to the benefits of Agar Agar - you will find this excellent article here and even has exciting facts about how it is used for weight loss. Imagine that!

In America and I suspect much of the Western world gelatin is in so many processed foods and I try to stay away from this as much as possible. However, it is inevitable that that we all partake a fair bit of the stuff whether we like it or not.

Where to purchase Agar Agar?

I strongly recommend you purchase only powdered Agar Agar which is easily available (usually Telephone brand) in Asian (Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese & Japanese stores)

If you go to a specialty gourmet food stores and buy this, 9 times out of 10 you'll find Agar-Agar flakes, not the powder and this stuff requires boiling and cooking and in my opinion sets funny at times - because it is not completely homogeneous. So save yourself a lot of grief and spare me your cussin' and buy the powdered stuff, people!

This wonderful panna cotta with cream & fresh strawberries makes a wonderfully smooth and light summery dessert.

I use Agar-Agar for my puddings and panna cottas which in itself comes with one distinct advantage - it chills and sets much much quicker than gelatin. Oh and none of the 'rubber bullet' panna cotta with this one!

And if eating some tasteless sea weed grosses you out, maybe I should leave you with the thought of boiled pig parts!

 

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Ingredients

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Measure Agar-agar powder
 

To get started gather the ingredients - 2 lbs (2 cartons) ripe, sweet strawberries, lemon, sugar, milk, heavy (whipping) cream, powdered Agar-Agar and also required is non-stick spray & 6 ceramic or non-reactive metal molds or ramekins

Preparation- 

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Hull and slice strawberries

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Zest lemon
 

Strawberries -Set aside 6 large strawberries for later use in the refrigerator. Cut off the tops and discard. Halve and rinse under tap water. Set aside.

Lemon -Using a zester, (I love my microplane for this) zest the lemon rind.

Cooking Method - 

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Macerate strawberries

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Stew strawberries
 

In a sauce pan, add the strawberries and 1/2 cup sugar and on medium heat simmer for 5 minutes till the juices are released and strawberries have softened.

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Cream & Milk to boil

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Cream & Milk to boil2
 

In another clean stainless steel pot, add the milk and cream and on medium heat allow it to become very hot.

Measure out the Agar and sprinkle over the milk. Whisk vigorously to combine. Allow the milk to simmer for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool a bit. It will be consistency of a thickening sauce.

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Puree and strain strawberries2

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Add lemon zest
 

Using a slotted spoon remove the strawberries only (not the juices) into a blender. Pulverize to a smooth puree. Reserve the strawberry juices in the pan.

Using a fine mesh sieve with a large mixing bowl below, strain the strawberry puree. Stir with a spoon to push the strawberry puree through the sieve. Push through till all that is remaining is pulp in the sieve. Discard the pulp. Cook's Note - Do not omit this step or you will end up with a grainy panna cotta.

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Add some puree to reserved strawberry juices

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Add cream to strawberry puree
 

Add the lemon zest to the pureed strawberries. Remove 2/3 cup of the strawberry puree and pour into the reserved strawberry juices.

Pour the milk and cream mixture into the remaining strawberry puree in the bowl. Stir vigorously with a whisk till the mixture goes from mottled red to pink.

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Grease ramekins

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - Pour strawberry cream into ramekins
 

Spray the molds or ramekins with non-stick spray. Pour the creamy mix into the molds to the 3/4 mark.

Set aside for about 20-30 minutes to cool a bit. Place the molds on a baking tray or platter and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for atleast 2-3 hours.

Make Ahead tips - You can make these upto 2 days in advance and do not unmold till just before serving.

An hour before serving, thinly slice strawberries and toss in the compote  (which is the strawberry juice & puree mix)

To unmold the panna cottas just before serving time, run a butter knife along the edges of each mold gently. Place the molds in a baking pan filled with very warm tap water and set aside for 2-3 minutes.

Invert each mold on one serving plate at a time, tap gently to unmold the panna cottas.

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta - 01
 

Serve with a drizzle of the strawberry compote with sliced fresh strawberries.

Incredibly delicate, here is a burst of summer in every bite. Cool and refreshing, these small servings are a perfect treat even for the weight watching epicure. Think portion control and enjoy!

Enjoy! 

Recipe for

Gelatin-free Strawberry & Lemon Panna Cotta with Strawberry Compote

Makes 6-7

Preparation time - 30 minutes

Setting & Chilling time - 2-3 hours

Shopping list 

2 lbs (2 cartons) ripe, sweet strawberries

1 lemon for zest

1/2 cup sugar - for strawberries

1/4 cup sugar - for cream & milk mixture

1-1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream

2 tsp powdered Agar-Agar

Also required is non-stick spray & 6 ceramic or non-reactive metal molds or ramekins

Preparation- 

Strawberries -Set aside 6 large strawberries for later use in the refrigerator.

Cut off the tops and discard. Halve and rinse under tap water. Set aside.

Lemon -Using a zester, (I love my microplane for this) zest the lemon rind.

Cooking Method - 

In a sauce pan, add the strawberries and sugar and on medium heat simmer for 5 minutes till the juices are released and strawberries have softened.

In another clean stainless steel pot, add the milk and cream and on medium heat allow it to become very hot.

Measure out the Agar and sprinkle over the milk. Whisk vigorously to combine. Allow the milk to simmer for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool a bit. It will be consistency of a thickening sauce.

Using a slotted spoon remove the strawberries only (not the juices) into a blender. Pulverize to a smooth puree. Reserve the strawberry juices in the pan.

Using a fine mesh sieve with a large mixing bowl below, strain the strawberry puree. Stir with a spoon to push the strawberry puree through the sieve. Push through till all that is remaining is pulp in the sieve. Discard the pulp.

Cook's Note - Do not omit this step or you will end up with a grainy panna cotta.

Add the lemon zest to the pureed strawberries. Remove 2/3 cup of the strawberry puree and pour into the strawberry juices that you had previously set aside.

Pour the milk and cream mixture into the remaining strawberry puree in the bowl. Stir vigorously with a whisk till the mixture goes from mottled red to pink.

Spray the molds or ramekins with non-stick spray. Pour the ccreamy mix into the molds to the 3/4 mark.

Set aside for about 20-30 minutes to cool a bit. Place the molds on a baking tray or platter and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for atleast 2-3 hours.

Make Ahead tips - You can make these upto 2 days in advance and do not unmold till just before serving.

An hour before serving, thinly slice strawberries and toss in the compote  (which is the strawberry juice & puree mix)

To unmold the panna cottas just before serving time, run a butter knife along the edges of each mold gently. Place the molds in a baking pan filled with warm tap water and set aside for 2-3 minutes.

Invert each mold on one serving plate at a time, tap gently to unmold the panna cottas.

Serve with a drizzle of the strawberry compote.

 

Enjoy! 

 


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • A New Way to Shop for the Most Unique Sunglasses

    Shop Most Unique Sunglasses

    These unique sunglasses represent smart style for women's fashion and are only available for a limited time. This startup has made a line of luxury sustainable... Read more

    11 hours, 42 minutes ago by   Meghashop
    FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • Who Are the Members of Diet Doctor?

    Members Diet Doctor?

    Who are you? We asked our members and received 1,100 replies: Most members are women, and more specifically middle-aged women. This is a group of people that... Read more

    12 hours ago by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 – Daily Updates – Day 8 – Alan Young

    Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 Daily Updates Alan Young

    A cool calm (wind wise) start to the day. Usual start up work completed but we lose our Manager of the Drinks Food table. Tomorrow it will be Yuri Trostenyuk an... Read more

    12 hours, 41 minutes ago by   Abichal
    OTHER SPORTS, OUTDOORS
  • Beautiful Destination Wedding with Pastel Colors | Gemma & Sean

    Beautiful Destination Wedding with Pastel Colors Gemma Sean

    Chic Stylish Weddings Chic Stylish Weddings - The destination wedding we are sharing today is so beautiful; from the pastel colored flowers used for the... Read more

    13 hours, 47 minutes ago by   Eleni Balkouli
    LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL, WEDDING
  • The Humor Writing Business

    Making people laugh is no laughing matter. Someone should have told me this before I...oh, wait, a lot of people did but, as usual, I never take advice that run... Read more

    15 hours, 53 minutes ago by   C. Suresh
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Baptism of My Babies. All of Them.

    Baptism Babies. Them.

    Today was so emotionally intense for me. Three of our seven children were baptized at the church Matt and I met in and got married in. Each one has been... Read more

    16 hours, 7 minutes ago by   Rachel Rachelhagg
    FAMILY, PARENTING
  • Asparagus and Courgette Rice

    Asparagus Courgette Rice

    I wanted to cook us something quick and light today . . . fresh, and healthy. I remembered seeing this recipe in the June issue of Food to Love and I had... Read more

    16 hours, 8 minutes ago by   Mariealicerayner
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES

Magazines