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Red Berry Almond Milk Panna Cottas

Red Berry Almond Milk Panna Cottas

I need to start with an apology…or two. First, as you can tell my blog posting schedule has slowed down to 2 posts a week instead of every other day. Hmmm…wonder why?!!! I really wanted to thank you for keeping on reading and checking back, especially right now that I have noticed some stressed induced grey hair. Ok, only two..but still! Second, I wanted to apologize for being such a ghost commenter on your blogs. I sometimes have to pack a whole week’s worth in one evening so do not worry if it seems like I am stalking your blogs on Friday night….whole pages at a time. In that regard, I wanted to thank you for coming here and leaving comments, you have no idea how supportive I find them, especially at midnight when I am tweaking a recipe for the third time and recalculating metrics one more time.. just to be safe. So peeps….from the deep dark corners of my kitchen, thank you!

It is funny how things happen in series. Right after I posted the Daring Bakers challenge on gluten free crackers and vegan dips, a close friend of ours told us that he had been diagnosed with an allergy to dairy. While not an immediate concern since we do not live together, it became one fast since we had just invited them over for dinner. My initial thought was to look closely at the menu and remove all dairy from it until he called and asked if I could help him come up with dairy free options of his favorite foods. Absolument! Avec plaisir! Yes, it would be my pleasure!

Red Berry Almond Milk Panna Cottas

One of his favorite desserts is panna cottas, this delectable Italian concoction of cream, sugar and milk and precisely what he thought he would have to give up on this new eating regimen. I reassured him that there were tons of dairy free milks and creams available nowadays that it would not be difficult to satisfy his sweet tooth. He had just bought a carton of soy milk that tasted just like cardboard and he was starting to have serious doubt he’d find something he’d like. I reassured him that he had probably picked up the only cardboard tasting one in the bunch and pushed him to persevere and try rice milk, oat milk, hazelnut milk and my personal favorite, almond milk.

I actually think he gave me an easy one to tweak first. There are so many ways to approach panna cottas: milk, cream, yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, creme fraiche, fromage blanc. All can be used in making this dessert. I like yogurt based ones a lot but I have a fondness for rich "creamy cream" ones, so does our friend. Problem with almond milk is that it tends to be on the thin side consistency wise so I added some dairy free creamer to the base, like I would in my usual recipe (whole milk and cream). I was a little concerned that the overall taste would be to his liking so I came up with a little diversion just in case: a little raspberry and redcurrant pureed at the bottom of the glasses.

The end result could have fooled the best dairy lover out there (hmmm that might be me!) and the almond milk added a little extra nutty flavor that was perfect with the berries. No grittiness, no cardboard after taste, no "fake" taste lingering after that last bite. Feel free to substitute your favorite dairy free milk and cream as well as fruits to go along. On the other hand if you’d rather stick to regular dairy full panna cottas, click here to get some ideas.

Red Berry Almond Milk Panna Cottas

Red Berry Almond Milk Panna Cottas:

Serves 4-6 depending on the size of your glasses or ramequins

Kitchen Notes:
1/ When you pour the liquid over the fruit, you will notice that the fruit and liquid mass have a tendency to get a little mixed and some of your fruit starts to float in the milk. One way to remedy that is to freeze the glasses once they are filled with the fruit puree while you prepare the panna cotta. Make sure the liquid is at room temperature before pouring it into the glasses or you will shatter your glass.
2/ I used Almond Breeze milk.

1 cup raspberries
1 cup red currant
1 cup almond milk
1 cup dairy free creamer
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin bloomed in 2 Tb water (means to pour the water over the gelatin and let it sit while you prepare the panna cotta)

In a food processor, puree the raspberries and redcurrant together and divide the mixture among 4-6 glasses. Freeze (see Kitchen Note).

Combine all the ingredients, except the gelatin, in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 8 seconds and quickly stir it in the cream mixture. No microwave at our house so I set the cup with the gelatin in large saucepan with enough water to come up halfway up the sides of the gelatin bowl, on medium heat and let the gelatin melt that way. Let the panna cotta mixture cool to lukewarm. Remove the glasses from the freezer and slowly pour the cream over the red berry puree and let set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Decorate with fresh berries if desired.

To make your own almond milk, you can check this recipe here, I have not tested it.

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A. October 3, 2008 um 5:21 pm

I think you are absolutely fabulous at blogging and writing the book at the same time. You always inject great positive energy!

Mallory Elise October 3, 2008 um 5:24 pm

coooooooooool. almond milk. i don’t even know what that is. πŸ™‚

my sister is lactose intolerant, and like me she is also gluten intolerant. i can live without the gluten just fine. but dairy–no way.

i will find some almond milk and make her this at christmas. merci beaucoup!

ahk! et je suis la premiere de faire une commentaire ici, hooray! la premiere de–combien?–76? oui c’est ma prΓ©diction!

joyeux vendredi–j’ai deux examen aujourd’hui–et apres deux bouteilles du vin entiΓ¨re. πŸ™‚

Mallory Elise October 3, 2008 um 5:25 pm

ahk! la framboise a ecrit pendent que j’ai fait la miene! grrrrrrr!!!

A. October 3, 2008 um 5:44 pm

DΓ©solΓ© Mallory! πŸ˜€

Anonymous October 3, 2008 um 5:52 pm

Almond milk, you say? Good to know. I find soy milk can have a very forward flavour that makes it obvious that a recipe isn’t using dairy.

Ashley October 3, 2008 um 6:14 pm

I’ve never heard of almond milk either, but it sounds pretty good. I love dairy and this still looks fantastic!

Finla October 3, 2008 um 6:17 pm

Looks delicious. Me too have no idea what almond mils is.
I don’t think i have seen here unless i missed them while shopping.
Do you have any recipe for making almond milk???
Hi hi don’t worry about the grey hair, i have noticed that i have two also. Wht i do is take a tweezr and put it out ouch…. my hubby remarks what will ido when have much more πŸ˜‰ he might be thinking to himself if i go on doing this he might end up with a bald wife :-)))

Maria October 3, 2008 um 6:35 pm

I don’t know how you do it! You are so busy and you never cease to amaze me. No need to apologize for anything.
The dessert you came up with looks heavenly!!

RecipeGirl October 3, 2008 um 6:42 pm

I’m amazed that you can even get two a week in! I’ve never tasted a panna cotta. It looks delicious. I especially love the sugared edges πŸ™‚

limonana October 3, 2008 um 6:44 pm

wow! i adore panna cottas, & i love almond milk! i cannot wait to try it out…

LizNoVeggieGirl October 3, 2008 um 6:46 pm

Absolutely NOOOO reason for you to apologize, Helen!! You’re an exceptional blogger – never forget that!! :0)


Helene October 3, 2008 um 6:46 pm

Happycook: I just added a link to make your own. I have not tested this recipe though. Tell me if it works!

Bridget October 3, 2008 um 6:53 pm

I am so impressed! To "un-dairy" a dairy recipe…wow!

I use almond milk in my cereal and in chai tea lattes at home (wish Starbucks would offer it). I really like it. I’m not a fan of soy milk. Hazelnut milk? I’ll be on the lookout for that! πŸ™‚

glamah16 October 3, 2008 um 7:16 pm

Not to add more stress to you, but do I see an alternative(gluten free, non dairy, etc) sequel cook book in future! πŸ˜‰ Dont smack me for suggesting such, but your good!

glamah16 October 3, 2008 um 7:16 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Unknown October 3, 2008 um 7:36 pm

How beautiful!

Emily Rose October 3, 2008 um 7:52 pm

what a clever solution to non-dairy dessert! The pictures are, as always, beautiful!

May October 3, 2008 um 8:40 pm

And thank you for posting such great recipes and photos πŸ™‚

I love almond milk! My parents used to give me some when I was a baby.
Now I’m lactose intolerant so I’ll try this recipe out (If I can find dairy free cream here). Or maybe with coconut.

Rosa's Yummy Yums October 3, 2008 um 9:05 pm

A very versatile speciality! Your Panna Cottas looks incredibly good and refreshing!

Cheers and have a nice weekend,


Anonymous October 3, 2008 um 9:07 pm

Pictures are beautiful helen. I love this recipe and will give a try.

Ash October 3, 2008 um 9:19 pm

I always forget about almond milk! Great choice!
Love it!

Renee October 3, 2008 um 9:51 pm

Almond milk is definitely a delicious and under-used ingredient. I’ve read a number of medieval recipes for spiced almond milk custards. Apparently almond milk will thicken when cooked with an acid…I haven’t had a chance to play around with that yet, but there are certainly a lot of delectable possibilities!

Leonor de Sousa Bastos October 3, 2008 um 11:16 pm

I love your panna cotta cups… They must be delicious with almond milk!! I must try these some day!!

Susan @ SGCC October 3, 2008 um 11:19 pm

This is such a welcome recipe for me, Helen. My little nephew is on a dairy free diet. His twin brother is not and I always feel so terrible when the one has ice cream and puddings and the other can’t! This will be a special treat I can make just for him. I love Almond Breeze and I always keep it in my own fridge. Perfect!

Lori October 3, 2008 um 11:33 pm

Very resourceful. I do love almond milk as well. And orchatta, rice milk, Mexican style. My huband is lactose intolerant so this is a great way to make this creamy dessert. Thanks!

jenniferhoiyin October 4, 2008 um 1:35 am

That’s so sweet of you to offer to help with such a request. I’m sure it was delicious too. I’ve never tried almond milk, but I love soy (regular and raw). I have no aversion for dairy either so I think I will be using some dairies on hand for yummy panna cottas and peaches soon!

And don’t worry about visiting all the blogs, although I do love seeing that you stop by. You’re kind of like a celebrity in our home. πŸ˜€

Jaime October 4, 2008 um 2:50 am

i admire your ability to post such beautiful food with such great frequency….i can hardly manage to get 2 posts up per week myself!

that is so nice of you to tweak this recipe for your friend. it looks delicious and even this diary lover would enjoy it!

Kitchen M October 4, 2008 um 3:02 am

Two posts of amazingly creative desserts a week is still very impressive! And what impresses me the most is the fact that you are trying to visit everybody’s blog and to leave a comment even at 3am in the morning! I was thinking, how in the world does she do all these!?
But it really shows how much you care about your readers and your food, which is why I love reading your blog! πŸ˜‰

Anonymous October 4, 2008 um 4:37 am

Hee hee no need for an apology. It just means that we are extra happy when we see one of your new posts ^^! And it is very nice when you visit our blogs but you must have such a huge list compared to mine haha.

Btw the panna cotta looks inviting and great photos as usual!

That Girl October 4, 2008 um 5:24 am

Almond milk makes me think of Almond milk tea which I love. I definitely am going to use it in my next panna cotta.

Libby October 4, 2008 um 5:25 am

Those of us with allergies in our families quickly discover that food will be used as a excuse by some who don’t want to be inconvenienced, or as a way by others to show their love. You are a dear to adapt this dish for your friend.

Due to a peanut allergy and the risk of cross contamination with other nuts, I cannot use the almond milk to substitute for my son’s milk allergy. The soy aftertaste puts me off, too, for "pure" dairy dishes, even though I frequently use soy milk and yogurt for baking. For something like this I like coconut milk, and will be totally stealing this recipe to make for my family! Thanks for sharing it. Libby

Anonymous October 4, 2008 um 9:04 am

So pretty! The 2nd pic looks like your panna cotta came out from the snow!

Thank you for the link to the almond milk. I love making my own soya milk because it taste more natural and less repulsive than store-bought.

La Tartine Gourmande October 4, 2008 um 12:40 pm

Lovely refreshing dessert. It has all the things I love! I am like you though, I would have a liking for creamy ones!

Bunny October 4, 2008 um 2:10 pm

I think you could make anything taste good, how lucky is your friend to have you to help him! I can’t even imagine how stressfull it must be to write a cookbook and want every detail to be perfect. No need to apologize, we’re not going anywhere.

montague October 4, 2008 um 4:14 pm

darling, i don’t know how you handle all you do. seriously! you’re amazing. and i can’t wait for your book πŸ˜‰

Anonymous October 4, 2008 um 8:02 pm

I still have never tried panna cotta, and now I need to consider this version as well. It looks so delicious! So many recipes, so little time. A few more days a week are in order, aren’t they? I’ve been wondering about how you’re doing…

La Cuisine d'Helene October 5, 2008 um 12:15 am

I don’t buy almond milk but I think I would love to try it in this panna cotta. Two posts a week will be better than none. I like coming here.

Anonymous October 5, 2008 um 3:15 am

I simply have to try this panna cotta!

raining sheep October 5, 2008 um 4:02 am

Firstly, let me just say you are fabulous, your desserts are fabulous (I can barely bake except for Aran’s chocolate minicakes I made like WEEKS ago), your photos are fabulous and you know, I only post once a week, usually on Saturdays and also catch up on my favorite blogs on the weekend because it really is the only time I have. My weekdays are crazy with work, getting dinner ready, running and working on my degree. So, please don’t think that two posts a week is too little, it is not, it’s a lot with everything else that you do.

Anonymous October 5, 2008 um 5:41 am

amazing photo! i love panna cotta too, smooth and creamy, yay!

Anonymous October 5, 2008 um 1:25 pm

As soon as I saw this recipe, I had to try it. It was delicious and heavenly. Heavenly delicious. haha Even though I don’t know where to get red currents out here, I used pomegranates instead and it still came out good. Whenever I find red currents, I am going to try this recipe again.

Cynthia October 5, 2008 um 2:56 pm

I don’t have a sweet tooth and prefer savoury stuff, yet, I am completely in love with your sweet blog πŸ™‚

Susan October 5, 2008 um 3:13 pm

This panna cotta looks delicious Helen.

Eileen October 5, 2008 um 3:21 pm

Love this twist on Panna Cotta. As usual, I want to try it because the photos of it are so beautiful.

Amber October 5, 2008 um 11:12 pm

You are sure a sweet and handy friend and neighbor to have around. Wow, I haven’t seen almond milk in forever. I used to love it. As for twice a week, I am just glad you are still with us.

Anonymous October 5, 2008 um 11:41 pm

This is such a great idea. I would never have thought to use almond milk but I am sure it was delicious with the berries.

Anonymous October 5, 2008 um 11:53 pm

This is a great recipe for people who have a problem with dairy. And the raspberries look delicious!

Maggie October 6, 2008 um 1:16 am

These are truly gorgeous.

Anonymous October 6, 2008 um 1:52 am

Looks great! Being lactose intolerant, I try to stay away from milk so I usually use soymilk or rice milk. I think rice milk tastes closest to real milk, but some soy milks aren’t bad (though most are horrible).

BTW don’t feel bad for only posting twice a week, I posted today for the first time in 2 weeks!

Anonymous October 6, 2008 um 3:37 am

Yuuuuuuuum!!!!! You always post the greatest desserts. My goal is to get in the kitchen and make one of these dishes, you so fabulously post!

Alexa October 6, 2008 um 3:44 am

You are so resourceful. This panna cotta looks so light and elegant. I will have to keep it in mind for all the dairy avoiding people in my life.

I wouldn’t worry too much about posting less often, we all know how busy you are and the posts that appear on your blog are pure delight.

Anonymous October 6, 2008 um 5:35 am

Helen this is wonderful. I can’t believe almond milk would work so well. Congratulations on your DMBLGIT win. Gorgeous picture.

Anonymous October 6, 2008 um 6:19 am

How delicious and beautifully photographed. I simply love Panna Cotta.


Patricia Scarpin October 6, 2008 um 3:38 pm

You are so thoughtful, darling!
Panna cotta is wonderful indeed and I think your version is fantastic. your friend is a lucky one!

Vanillaorchid October 6, 2008 um 6:21 pm

I have never seen almond milk here, your panna cotta are fantastic. If I had a chance to find almond milk, I’m sure that I will try this recipe.

Deborah October 6, 2008 um 7:35 pm

I’m always afraid that I’m going to end up having a child that has some sort of food allergy – but now I’m not quite so scared! You make it look easy to be dairy-free!

Jodie October 6, 2008 um 7:36 pm

Wow, these look great! My husband loves panna cotta, but he’s a bit of a purist when it comes to Italian food, so I’m not I can slip this by him. Maybe I won’t tell him it’s panno cotta…

Andrea October 6, 2008 um 8:12 pm

Those look so good! I love almond milk, I’ve even made it before, although I’m not sure it’s really an experiment worth repeating. Congratulations on your book! You definitely deserve it, this is one of the most inspiring blogs out there! Can’t wait to see the final product.

Parisbreakfasts October 6, 2008 um 8:54 pm

As long as it’s white and milke-sque, who cares.
Color is a big issue IMO.
If you’re eating milk and cookies…it’s the cookies you worry about. So what if the "milk" came from an almond.
Looks heavenly to me, whatever it is.

My Castle in Spain October 6, 2008 um 9:47 pm

oh la la…just the words "red berry" and "almond milk" make me feel weak !

Anonymous October 7, 2008 um 6:47 am

I hadn’t visited your blog in so long, but imagine my surprise when I show up after weeks of absenteeism to discover a dairy-free post from the dairy queen herself! Be sure to send your friend my way if he has any dairy-free questions! I am always happy to help.

Anonymous October 7, 2008 um 6:47 am

I hadn’t visited your blog in so long, but imagine my surprise when I show up after weeks of absenteeism to discover a dairy-free post from the dairy queen herself! Be sure to send your friend my way if he has any dairy-free questions! I am always happy to help.

Colette October 7, 2008 um 9:24 am

I adore your creations!!! stunning work as usual!

Debbie October 7, 2008 um 11:05 am

Never heard of almond milk but your dessert looks delicious. Your pictures are always so unique and beautiful!!

Finla October 7, 2008 um 2:52 pm

Thankyou for the info, will tell you when i try them.

Shalum October 8, 2008 um 5:13 am

I love making panna cotta too πŸ™‚ yummy pics!

kayenne October 8, 2008 um 7:28 pm

What brand soymilk did your friend buy? or could he have bought the sugarfree ones that contained artificial sweeteners? EW! I usually get fresh soymilk, but since it only lasts 2 days, I usually stock up on Silk brand soy milk. Vanilla is good. But chocolate is a favorite. and who doesn’t enjoy chocolate panna cotta? you could probably thicken this with some tofu pureed or tofu cream cheese.

kayenne October 8, 2008 um 7:33 pm

btw, instead of microwaving the gelatin mixture, you could probably also stir in some of the milk in instead. for soymilk panna cotta, just heat until below simmering to avoid grittiness(usually in boiling fresh soymilk). you may luck out and find a supplier of fresh soymilk. maybe chinatown? tastes much much better. been addicted to it since i was 6.

Y October 8, 2008 um 9:57 pm

Never heard of almond breeze milk before, but I’ve made almond milk by infusing milk with whole almonds, and love the resulting taste. My boy is lactose intolerant too, so if I make pannacotta (which isn’t very often, because I don’t think he’s too fussed about it), it’s usually with lactose free milk and coconut cream.

Helene October 8, 2008 um 10:42 pm

Kayenne: I think it is just a matter of taste for te soy milk. I myself don’t like that much, even fresh, and there sure isn’t no Chinatown where I live!!
Re-gelatin: yes, soaking and stirring it versus heating it works the same, it just saves me a little stirring to make sure it is properly dissolved. Again, it is just a matter of personal preference. heck, I used to work with a hot line chef who would soak his gelatin sheets and then heat them up prior to adding to a hot mixture. I guess that’s where my habit came from.

Anonymous October 11, 2008 um 5:15 pm

As someone who suffers from lactose-intolerance, I am always on the look-out for new dairy-free recipes and recipe adaptations without milk products. I am so glad I found your blog and this recipe. It looks wonderful and I am impressed with your review of its creaminess and good flavor.

I will definitely be trying it. Thank you so much!

Anonymous October 18, 2008 um 8:43 pm

I made this the other night, but my panna cotta never gelled! I was so disappointed. Any thoughts or suggestions? I used the powdered gelatin, and I do have a microwave to heat it for the 8 seconds. πŸ™

Helene October 18, 2008 um 8:49 pm

Kitchenetta: sorry to hear about that. Let’s see: how long did you let them sit in the fridge before eating?
Also, I like mine barely "gelified" (and the recipe is written that way) because I can’t stad the texture of jello for example so maybe it is a difference in expectations rather than a problem you encountered. Mine is very soft but holds from spoon to mouth, if that makes any sense. You can increase the gelating by 1 teaspoon if you would like a firmer consistency.

Anonymous October 19, 2008 um 11:45 pm

Yes, that’s a good idea. Sadly, mine was water. I do want to make this again. Thanks for your response.

Anonymous December 8, 2008 um 12:07 pm

[email protected]

Anonymous January 22, 2009 um 10:10 am

Love the recipe

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