Make Ahead

Savory Carrot Panna Cotta

February 27, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

The idea for this recipe came from an article a friend sent me a few years back which was about savory panna cotta thickened with agar agar instead of the traditional gelatin. The beauty of the agar agar is that it allows the panna cotta to be served at room temperature or slightly warmed. The article contained a kabocha squash panna cotta as well as a porcini panna cotta. The recipe I came up with is a bit like a carrot soup in a more solid form. The texture is smooth and silky. The carrots lend a lovely orange hue and a subtle sweetness. It can be served at room temperature to accompany a lightly dressed green salad. It can also be served warm as a fun play on a soup course. —hardlikearmour

What You'll Need
  • canola or other neutral oil
  • 1 & 3/4 cups water (plus additional if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon agar agar flakes or 1 teaspoon agar agar powder
  • 4 large carrots (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small stalk celery, cut into chunks
  • 2-inch section of fresh rosemary stem (with leaves)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 2 stalks flat leaf parsley
  • table salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fromage blanc, or other soft, tangy cheese
  • cayenne pepper
  • white pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400º F with rack in center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat the inside of 4 6-oz ramekins with oil, and set aside.
  2. Combine water, agar agar, 6 carrot chunks, celery, rosemary, bay learf, peppercorns, allspice berries, parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat, scraping bottom of pan occasionally, then reduce heat to low while you are roasting the carrots. Continue to scrape bottom of pan occasionally as the agar agar likes to settle.
  3. Place remaining carrot chunks on prepared baking sheet, drizzle with a few tablespoons of oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with table salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring carrots once. They should have some caramelization and you should be able to pierce them with a fork, but they don't need to be falling apart soft.
  4. Allow carrots to cool on pan and remove agar agar broth from heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer carrots to blender. Strain agar agar broth through fine mesh strainer into blender. Add heavy cream, goat cheese, and a pinch or two of cayenne, and additional water to bring the volume just above 2 cups. Blend until smooth, scraping down sides of blender as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, white pepper, and additional cayenne if desired, blending briefly to fully incorporate.
  5. Evenly divide the mixture between the 4 prepared ramekins. Pick up and drop each ramekin (from an inch or so) several times to settle and help remove air bubbles that may have formed. Set aside for about an hour for the agar agar to set.
  6. Run a thin knife around edge of panna cotta, then flip ramekin onto serving plate or bowl. Wiggle and shake a bit to release from the ramekin. Serve warm with a drizzle of cream thinned crème fraiche, a dusting of paprika, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley as a "soup" course. Serve at room temperature alongside a lightly dressed lettuce or arugula salad with a sprinkling of chopped nuts as a salad course.
  7. NB: The panna cotta can be heated for 5 minutes at 350º F in the ramekin or on the serving plate. It gets nicely warmed and holds it shape beautifully.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • boulangere
  • ChefJune
  • wssmom
  • Happyolks
  • Panfusine
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

26 Reviews

boulangere September 30, 2011
This looks impossibly wonderful.
hardlikearmour September 30, 2011
Thanks, boulangere! If you haven't played with agar agar for panna cotta, you should definitely give it a go. It doesn't give you the rubbery texture that can happen w/ too much gelatin, and it really holds well at warmer temperatures.
boulangere September 30, 2011
On my shopping list.
hardlikearmour September 30, 2011
You will not regret it! The agar agar powder dissolves MUCH better than the flakes, and can be found at Asian markets. 1 t powder = 1 T flakes.
ChefJune September 26, 2011
mmm this would be good with butternut squash, too.
hardlikearmour September 26, 2011
Thanks, CJ! Here's the link to the online version of the article which inspired this:
wssmom September 25, 2011
Carrot soup with a fork!! What a great idea! I adore carrot soup!
hardlikearmour September 25, 2011
It's a fun presentation!
clintonhillbilly September 22, 2011
Sounds delicious, and thanks for using agar agar instead of gelatin, now I can make it for my vegetarian wife!
hardlikearmour September 22, 2011
I'm a HUGE fan of agar agar in panna cotta. It keeps it's texture beautifully at a much wider range of temperature.
Happyolks March 15, 2011
yum! wow, I would have never thought of anything like this, totally going to need to give it a try. Maybe I'll try greek yogurt instead of heavy cream?
hardlikearmour March 15, 2011
Should work with greek yogurt; will be more tangy, so maybe go with a sweeter cheese like ricotta or mascarpone. I'm pretty sure you could do it with any carrot soup recipe you like, too.
Panfusine March 2, 2011
very creative... love the concept of a solid soup which melts in your mouth!
hardlikearmour March 2, 2011
Thanks! It has a really nice silky texture, plus it's a bit unexpected which makes it fun to me.
Burnt O. March 2, 2011
Oh yeah - making this one! How original!
hardlikearmour March 2, 2011
Let me know how you like it! I found it to be oddly yummy, especially slightly warm.
arielleclementine March 1, 2011
a perfectly lovely idea! so pretty!
hardlikearmour March 1, 2011
I like the presentation; it's unexpected and fun IMO. I'm pretty sure you could use any carrot soup for this, just dissolve 1 T of agar agar per 2 cups or so. The agar agar can be stubborn about dissolving, so make sure to strain it to remove any clumps. It overall is more texturally forgiving than gelatin, and doesn't seem to get rubbery in my experience.
kmartinelli March 1, 2011
Oh wow, another winner! Love this recipe.
hardlikearmour March 1, 2011
Thanks, k! I tinkered with it a bit, and am happy with the result, though I may tinker some more.
Lizthechef February 28, 2011
I love this original recipe - what a beautiful presentation for a dinner party!
hardlikearmour February 28, 2011
I think it jazzes things up! Thanks, Liz.
melissav February 28, 2011
Very creative!
hardlikearmour February 28, 2011
Thanks, melissav!
mrslarkin February 28, 2011
Yum! This sounds delicious!
hardlikearmour February 28, 2011
Thanks, mrslarkin!