Strawberry and coconut pannacotta is a taste of summer whenever you desire a light sweet to finish a meal. Vegans most commonly keep it simply as a coconut pannacotta, yet I prefer it made with many favourite fruits, like mangoes, lemon and especially strawberries because who can resist a blushing pink colour.
Pannacotta is a simple dessert, a softly set pudding that’s usually made with cream, sugar and gelatin. It originated in Northern Italy in Piedmont, where the earliest recipes mention simmering the cream with fish bones, the collagen that would set the cream. The name pannacotta literally means cooked cream. The pannacottas I create are coconut milk or cream based, flavoured with fruit and set with agar agar, the jelly-like substance obtained from algae that’s available from most health food stores. The amount of agar agar should be carefully measured as too much will give a rubbery texture, and too little the texture would be runny.
· There are over 600 varieties of strawberries. The sweet, slightly tart berries rank among the top 10 fruits and vegetables for antioxidant content.
· A Harvard study found that regular consumption flavonoids found in berries can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 32 percent in young and middle-aged women.
· The antioxidants in strawberries have all been shown to reduce the formation of harmful blood clots associated with strokes. The powerful antioxidants in strawberries may work against free radicals, inhibiting tumor growth and decreasing inflammation in the body.
· Due to their high potassium content, strawberries are recommended to people with high blood pressure to help negate the effects of sodium in the body.
· Strawberries are a low glycaemic index food and high in fibre, which helps to regulate blood sugar and keep it stable by avoiding extreme highs and lows.
STRAWBERRY & COCONUT PANNACOTTA
V, RSF, DF
Makes 6 glasses
625 mls / 21 fl. oz. coconut milk
320 grams / 11 ounces strawberries
1½-2 flat teaspoons agar agar
50 ml rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend the coconut milk and strawberries until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl, and whisk in agar agar. Set aside for 15 minutes. Pour into a saucepan, and add rice malt syrup and vanilla extract. On a medium flame, heat until it starts to boil, simmer another 3 minutes stirring constantly. Pour into glass cups or oiled ramekins, and refrigerate overnight. Serve alone or with slices of strawberries. Enjoy!