Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dare to Bake: Cooked Cream

First of all, let me apologize for what may already be obvious; I will not be posting as regularly (aiming for once a week) as usual until mid-April. I am training to teach yoga, and it is taking most of my available brain space and time. That said, I am still baking and staying connected with sustainable agriculture, so I might resort to shorter blog posts in order to maintain frequency. Stay tuned.

In other news, happy Daring Bakers February reveal day! The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

I have been meaning to make Panna Cotta for a while now, and this was finally the excuse I needed. Panna Cotta, an Italian classic literally translating to "cooked cream," is a light and pallet-cleansing dessert. The first and only time I've actually eaten the dessert was at Il Pirata in the Cinque Terre, Italy. It was smothered in chocolate and strawberries, and decidedly not vegan (see photo above). My creations this time are, however, and also represent yet another contribution to this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge on Stevia.

Oaty Almond Florentine Cookies

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 cups oats
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup)
10 drops liquid stevia
2 tbs almond milk
1 tbs ground flax seeds
pinch salt
melted dark chocolate

1. Combine oats, almond meal, and flax seeds. Mix in oil, agave, stevia, and almond milk. Let sit for a couple of minutes and then stir again.
2. Drop silver dollar size gobs of oat mixture onto a silpat on a baking sheet. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes until just starting to brown.
3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before sandwiching melted chocolate between two cookies and refrigerating.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

1 cup soy milk (I used Westsoy nonfat plain)
15 drops liquid stevia
1/3 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 packet vegan jello (can also use agar, but I haven't before ~1 tsp per cup milk)

1. Bring milk to a boil. Add stevia and vanilla bean. Pour into a bowl and add jello powder and whisk until dissolved.
2. Pour into whatever molds you are using and refrigerate until set. Bravo!

Pumpkin Pie Panna Cotta

3/4 cup pumpkin puree (I used kabocha squash, but butternut would also be lovely)
1/4 cup soy milk
15 drops liquid stevia
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1. Heat pumpkin and milk in the microwave for 1.5 minutes. Stir in spices (variation: 1/4 tsp ground cardamom) and stevia. Whisk in gum until fully incorporated.
2. Pour into molds and refrigerate until set, about an hour. Unmold and enjoy!


Ruth H. said...

Pumpkin pie panna cotta? And dairy free? I think I am in love! Your panna cotta both look fabulous, and the florentines are beautiful as well. Good luck with your yoga training, and I am so glad that you had the opportunity to do this month's challenge!

Audax said...

Vegan versions of the challenge recipe I love you I'm always impressed with vegan bakers and cooks. Lovely pictures as well. The pumpkin panna cotta is outstanding I adore it.

Good luck with the yoga training.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Renata said...

I'm happy to see another pumpkin version. I tried it with pumpkin as well, but have to perfect the recipe... Your Panna Cottas look delicious! Congratulations!

Victoria said...

Love it! Pumpkin pie panna cotta is a nice take on it.

Ricki said...

Not just one, but three ways to enjoy this lovely dessert! Yum. I love the idea of adding oats for creaminess. Did you notice the almonds in that first version? Or do they get blended in? Gotta try it!

Thank you for yet another wildly creative & delicious submission to the SOS Challenge this month! :D

Rachel said...

Thanks everyone for the comments; definitely made my morning to get feedback! The cookies were actually by far my favorite part of the challenge!

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

The pumpkin panna cotta looks outrageous. I can't wait to try the recipe.
Can I use tapica starch in the panna cotta?

Rachel said...

In the Pumpkin version, tapioca should work fine, but you will probably need to cook it more like pudding before molding it. Might work for vanilla bean, but will be a much different texture.