To end our vegan feast, I served a Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Orange Sauce and Pine Nut Rosemary Brittle.
Also from the fantastic book, The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen.
Now, if you want to make this, you’re going to have to do some work in advance. Tal says that to make the cashew cream, you need to soak the cashews overnight. I’ve made cashew cream several times and only soaked the cashews for three hours…you get the same result. So, about midday at the latest, start soaking your cashews. The pannacotta needs to sit in the fridge to set for about three hours.
Thick Cashew Cream (a.k.a. any respectable vegan’s secret weapon)
2 cups raw whole cashews
Thoroughly rinse the cashews in cold water. Then put in an airtight container, cover with water, and set aside for three hours. After three hours, pour into a blender and puree until smooth. Pass through a fine mesh sieve to remove any bits, and you will be left with silky-smooth cashew cream that is SO TASTY.
The Panna Cotta
1.5 tsp agar agar flakes
1/3 cup boiling water
1/5 cups thick cashew cream, thinned out to achieve a whole milk consistency (3/4 cup cashew cream + 3/4 water)
I cup plain unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup caster/granulated sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped or 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
Put the agar agar in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over top. Leave for 5 minutes to thicken.
In a medium saucepan, add cashew cream, almond milk, sugar, salt and soaked agar agar. If using fresh vanilla, add the seeds now and the emptied pod. Whisk constantly over medium-high heat until a foam starts to rise up in the pan. Then reduce to low and simmer for three minutes. If using vanilla bean paste, add it now.
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and then into ceramic ramekins. The recipe says it makes six, but I had bigger ones, so it made four. Let it set in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp orange zest
3 Tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar
4 Tbsp Earth Balance or vegan butter
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
Combine everything but the liquor in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until reduced by half. Remove from heat, stir in the Grand Marnier, and then pour through a fine mesh sieve.
Rosemary pine nut brittle
1 cup caster sugar
2 Tbsp Earth Balance or vegan butter
1 Tbsp Agave syrup
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tsp finely minced rosemary
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently stir together the sugar and 1/4 water. Add the Earth Balance and the agave syrup and then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Do not stir, let the sugar caramelize and when it starts to turn a golden amber colour, bring it off the heat, stir in the rosemary, salt and pine nuts using a heat-proof rubber spatula, and then pour it onto the baking sheet, spreading it out using the spatula. Let rest for an hour and then break into shards.
To serve, run a knife along the inside of the ramekins to loosen the Panna Cotta, and tip upside-down onto a plate. Pour over the warm orange sauce, place some shards of pine nut brittle, and garnish with mint.