Lemongrass Panna Cotta

By • June 2, 2011 • 12 Comments



Author Notes: I wanted to make a panna cotta for a large buffet-style dessert spread. Not knowing how warm it would be on the day of the party, I decided to use agar agar to thicken it. Agar agar will remain a lovely texture at temperatures that would liquify gelatin. I love the delicate, floral, lemony flavor of lemongrass so decided to use it in the panna cotta. I served it with a rhubarb raspberry compote (adapted from an Epicurious recipe for Rhubarb and Ginger Brioche Bread Pudding.) It was a success, and one of the first desserts to disappear at the party.

While panna cotta may seem like a crazy picnic option, the agar agar will hold up at warmer temperatures (you can literally heat it up in a 350º oven for several minutes to warm it, and it will stay firm.) Use a ramekin or a disposable plastic wine glass for a nice presentation. You can serve it plain, but it's especially good with a drizzle of berry coulis or a dollop of macerated berries or rhubarb sauce. It is a fresh, light, and unexpected dessert to serve at your next picnic, barbecue, or dinner party.
hardlikearmour

Makes 8 4-oz servings

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • zest from one medium lemon or 1 bruised kaffir lime leaf (optional)
  • 2 & 1/8th teaspoons agar agar powder
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch salt
  1. Combine milk, 2 cups heavy cream, lemongrass, and lemon zest or lime leaf in a medium saucepan. Heat on low for 20 to 30 minutes to infuse the lemongrass flavor into the liquid. Stir occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile combine remaining cup of heavy cream and agar agar powder in a glass measure. Allow mixture to rest while the lemongrass mixture is heating.
  3. Add agar agar mixture, sugar, and salt to the lemongrass mixture. Increase the heat to medium-high and heat to 170º F, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and when temperature has reduced to 120º F pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a 4-cup glass measure or small pitcher. Pour the panna cotta into individual ramekins. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
  4. Serve as is, or top with berry coulis, macerated berries, or rhubarb sauce.
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Tags: can be made ahead, Vegetarian

Comments (12) Questions (0)

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I have never used agar agar, love panna cotta and lemon grass. It has to be wonderful!

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

its Tailormade for pannacotta. I have a Pannacotta (with Indian flavors) recipe out here on Food52 which uses agar if you're interested. (Being vegetarian, I avoid gelatin)

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you panfusine, I rarely make panna cotta because I don't like gelatin. I have to research where to find this and would love making your recipe.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks! I started playing with agar agar after a friend sent me an article with savory panna cotta. It's more forgiving than the gelatin IME & vegetarian which is appealing to lots of people. I will have to check out your recipe, Panfusine! I love Indian flavors.

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

Dont you just LOVE agar?? its soo versatile!

Gator_cake

about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I do love it! It's wonderful stuff.

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about 3 years ago Sagegreen

This sounds wonderful. Since I don't live by Irish moss anymore, I will have to try out agar agar.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I've become a big fan of agar agar - it sets up well w/o becoming rubbery, and holds up at higher temperatures (you can even warm it in a 350º oven for a few minutes.)

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about 3 years ago Couldn't Be Parve

This looks absolutely delicious!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks! I have fallen in love with the flavor of lemongrass.

Mrs._larkin_370

about 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Sounds wonderful! Putting agar agar on the shopping list.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

you can find the powdered stuff at Asian markets. The flaked stuff you can find at Whole Foods - I'd pulverize it before using as it takes a LONG time to dissolve.