Almond Milk Panna Cotta with Blackberry Sauce

by Shayla Ebsen

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I love panna cotta but I don’t love the heavy feeling it leaves behind after eating versions made with heavy cream. I recently learned that vegans use almond milk in place of heavy cream when making panna cotta and was inspired to test the idea and learn whether it would provide the lighter dessert I desired. It did.

Not only is almond milk panna cotta much lighter than when the dessert is made with heavy cream, the almond notes of the milk enrich the dessert’s flavor. I paired the almond milk panna cotta with blackberry sauce for added sweetness and because I’ve been on a major blackberry bender lately.

This is a great dessert to pair with a heavier meal because of its lightness or to simply enjoy on a warm summer evening.

Makes 4 small ramekins

Ingredients:

Almond Milk Panna Cotta:

  • 2 cups plain almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 envelope powdered gelatin
  • 4 tablespoons water

Blackberry Sauce:

  • 1 container (6 ounces) fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Preparation:

Almond Milk Panna Cotta:

  • Grease four small ramekins. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the almond milk, vanilla and sugar. Cook on medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer.
  • Meanwhile, pour the gelatin into a small bowl and then pour the 4 tablespoons of water over the gelatin. Let sit until spongy, about 5 minutes or less.
  • When the almond milk mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat. Pour a small amount of the almond milk mixture in with the spongy gelatin, let sit for a minute and then stir. Pour the gelatin mixture back in to the saucepan containing the almond milk and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.
  • Divide the almond milk panna cotta between the greased ramekins, cover each with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight to set up.

Blackberry Sauce:

  • After the almond milk panna cotta has set up in the fridge overnight, begin preparing the blackberry sauce.
  • In a small saucepan, stir together the blackberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, lemon zest and 1/4 cup water. Press lightly on the blackberries to release some of their juices. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the blackberries are softened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice and cornstarch to create a smooth, creamy liquid. Pour the lemon juice and cornstarch mixture in with the blackberries and stir to combine. Cook another 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and let the blackberry sauce cool until it is only slightly warm before serving it with the panna cotta.
  • Release the almond milk panna cotta from the ramekins by placing each ramekin in a bowl of warm water, one at a time, ensuring that the water reaches about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekin.
  • Remove the ramekins from the water after about 2 minutes and turn upside down into serving bowls. If needed, jiggle the ramekins a little to release the panna cotta.
  • Spoon the cooled blackberry sauce over each panna cotta serving and serve immediately.

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