Sunflower Seed Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert made from sweet cream with gelatin to form a jello-like mold. In this version, the cream is infused with toasted sunflower seeds and sweetened with honey. Agar Agar is a great vegetarian substitute for gelatin made from seaweed.
- 4 cups heavy cream or half-and-half (coconut cream or thick soy milk work well as vegan substitutes)
- 1 ½ cups sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
- ½ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Pinch of salt
- 4 Tablespoons agar agar flakes
- Fresh fruit, chopped, as garnish (i.e. peach, longan, honeydew melon, etc)
- Blend the cream or half-and-half and sunflower seeds on low in a blender, until the mixture thickens. Do not blend on high, otherwise you might end up with whipped cream. Allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the sunflower seed flavor to fully infuse. Strain through a nut-milk bag or very fine colander.
- Heat the infused heavy cream or half-and-half, honey, and salt in a saucepan. Once the honey and salt are dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. (If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean).
- Sprinkle the agar agar flakes over the cream and reheat on the stove until boiling. Hold at a simmer for 3-4 minutes for the agar agar to dissolve.
- Oil custard cups or muffin tin with a neutral-tasting oil (sunflower seed oil works well).
- Pour the panna cotta mixture into cups or muffin tins, then chill until firm in the refrigerator. This may take between 2-3 hours.
- Run a sharp knife around the edge of each panna cotta and unmold onto a serving plate. Top with fruit. Serve and enjoy!