Simone's Kitchen

How not to make a pannacotta part II

Rhubarb pannacotta |

Pannacotta with agar agar

Right from the moment I started eating vegetarian I wanted to test agar agar as a replacement for gelatin. Gelatin – as you probably know – is made from bones so not vegetarian at all. And agar agar is the plant based substitute for that. I had heard good things about agar agar and it should – in fact – be stronger in binding than good old gelatin. So far so good. I still had a little bag of the stuff in house, got fresh rhubarb from the market and was all set to make my favorite dessert of all time: pannacotta.

Pannacotta with rhubarb |

Rhubarb season

Rhubarb, I am sad to say, has a very short season. Or at least I think it is very short as it’s over before you know it. So enjoy while it lasts! In this particular case I figured rhubarb and pannacotta would make a fine pair. Especially since it is recommended to pair rhubarb with dairy. Rhubarb contains oxalic acid which restricts the intake of calcium in your body. So combining it with dairy seems to take away some of that. Read more here if you’re interested. I think we don’t eat enough rhubarb to have any negative side effects so I wouldn’t worry to much about it. And as said combining it with dairy is a good idea.

Rhubarb |

Now obviously you can see that the pannacotta didn’t set. My mistake? I handled the agar agar the same way I do gelatin. Not bringing the dairy to the boil that is. But sadly I should have boiled it for at least two minutes to activate the agar agar. Lesson learned.

So instead of nice wobbly pannacotta we had pannacotta soup. Still quite delicious so feel free to give it a go with either agar agar or gelatin. You won’t be sorry!

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Rhubarb pannacotta |
Rhubarb pannacotta
Prep Time
10 mins
Cooling time
4 hrs
Servings: 6 people
  • 240 ml 1 cup double cream
  • 240 ml 1 cup butter milk
  • 50 gr sugar
  • 2 gram 1 tsp agar agar or 3 gelatin leaves
  • 2 tsp vanille extract
  • 2 tbsp rhubarb juice
Rhubarb coulis
  • 250 gr fresh rhubarb
  • 50 gr sugar
  • Add more sugar if you want it sweet
  1. Place all the ingredients for the pannacotta into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Leave to boil for at least 2 minutes to activate the agar agar and leave to cool for 5 minutes before pouring in your moulds.
  2. Add a couple of tbsp of the rhubarb juice into the pannacotta and give it a swirl.
  3. Divide the pannacotta over 6 moulds. Place into the fridge at least four hours or preferably all night.

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