Yes, I will admit: “Fennel Vanilla Panna Cotta” sounds like it belongs on a snobby restaurant menu and not a dish served after a casual family dinner. So while this dessert boasts a rather pretentious title, it tastes homey and delicous.
To further contradict the uppity title, this quick dessert is extremely simple to make with ingredients you probably have in your pantry.
Fennel boasts a mild licorice flavor. Here, it is steeped into the coconut milk base for a light flavor.
What is a Panna Cotta?
Panna cotta is an Italian gelatin-set custard. It tastes lighter and more refreshing than egg-based custards, but rich and luscious at the same time due to the dairy base. Here, I use additive free coconut milk place of the usual milk, cream or half and half.
Bright, juicy pomegranate seeds make a perfect complement to the silky custard:
3/4 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed (measure then crush)
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 tsp. grassfed gelatin
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. raw honey
Small pinch of salt (yes, it's important)
Reserve 1/4 cup of coconut milk in a small bowl. Heat the remaining coconut milk and the crushed fennel seeds in a saucepan over low heat. Keep just below simmering for about 15 minutes. Strain out the fennel seeds and return the coconut milk to the saucepan.
Mix the gelatin into the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk, let sit while you bring the fennel-steeped coconut milk up to a simmer. Whisk the gelatin mixture into the hot coconut milk. Turn off the heat, let cool slightly, and whisk in the vanilla, honey and salt.
Pour into 3-4 individual ramekins or 1 larger dish. Set in the fridge overnight before serving.
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