My Pretty Panna Cotta Slice

Vegan panna cotta slice

Admit it.

Spending valentine in a semi-quarantine has dampened your mood. I was sad when we had to cancel our date night for the millionth time.

Yet, spending quality time together sounds (just as) sweet.  I decided to make it sweeter by celebrating Valentine’s week with a 5-star dessert—panna cotta.

To those unaware, it’s like a sophisticated and mature rendition of jello. Except the cooked cream makes it far more fulfilling and tastier.

My rendition infused some nutritious tweaks and a rosy twist that makes this Italian classic perfect for health-focused couples.

What lays beneath the pretty presentation?

My tasty treat starts with an almond base that cradles a melt-in-your-mouth rose cream filling. The pretty pink rose jelly ties things together with a floral flourish. Each bite of this Valentine surprise takes you on a creamy-crumbly journey that compels you to ask for seconds. Yum!

What to Expect?

  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten-free
  • 100% vegan
  • 1000% delicious

What is Panna Cotta?

Let’s start off by talking about what panna cotta really is. Despite how heavenly it tastes and how easy it is to make, not a lot of people are familiar with this creamy dessert. But, let me assure you. Once you actually have this beautiful concoction, it will be hard to ever forget it.

A panna cotta is basically a jello or pudding-like dessert that is made with thick cream and gelatin. The Italian dessert has a much richer and creamier texture than your average pudding and each bite is like a waterfall in your mouth – it’s refreshing, has a magnificent texture, and the mesmerizing flavor makes you want to enjoy it for hours.

You can eat it straight out of your cup or mold, like I did with my first batch, or unmold it and present it on a plate with different fruits or sauces on top.

What Makes This Panna Cotta Slice So Special?

Most people tend to make it in ramekins but would it really be joyful home cooking if I didn’t put my own spin on it? Therefore, I joycified the recipe and out came this pretty square slice of panna cotta. Here are a few other factors that set this dessert apart from the rest.

Agar-uanteed Recipe for Success

You might have read jello and pudding above and immediately thought of gelatin. Well, it’s probably time to say goodbye to that vegan diet, huh? No! While most recipes do use gelatin for panna cotta, I did some research and experimenting and crafted the perfect vegan recipe.

But, how is it possible, Joyce, you may ask. Here’s my secret: agar powder.

Agar powder comes from red algae and acts as the perfect vegan alternative for gelatin to thicken and set all your jellos, puddings, and panna cottas. You can easily find some version of agar online or even in stores around you. I’ll talk more about agar powder in a bit.

Go Natural or Go Home

If there’s one motto I follow in my kitchen, it’s to go natural or go home. So, do you see that lovely jelly layer on top with its perfectly magical pink hue? If you’re thinking that’s from food coloring, boy do I have news for you.

As mentioned earlier, this recipe is entirely 100% natural. Therefore, even that pink jelly comes from all-natural beet powder. So, you can shrug away any feelings of hesitation and devour this dessert without an ounce of guilt.

Tips for the Perfect and Prettiest Panna Cotta Slice

Those pretty colors and clean layers can seem daunting but to be very honest with you, this Italian dessert is one of the quicker recipes I’ve whipped up in my kitchen recently. Moreover, I’ve got just the tips and tricks for you to make the perfect panna cotta at home and enjoy some healthy and wholesome creamy goodness.

Make Your Panna Cotta Extra Creamy

You can change the amount of agar powder you use according to the consistency you prefer. I like a sturdier panna cotta so I use about one to two teaspoons. But if you want your dessert to be on the creamier side instead of the jello texture, you can reduce the amount of agar powder.

Besides that, you can also replace the 400 ml of coconut cream with a can of whole fat coconut milk and a can of low-fat coconut milk. This will also help you attain a creamier, thicker, and overall luscious panna cotta slice.

Ensure Smooth Consistency

No one likes a lumpy or grainy panna cotta. The idea is to make the smoothest and silkiest dessert ever known to man. Therefore, I suggest testing a little bit of the mixture between your fingers to check for grains. You can also strain the coconut milk mixture before pouring in your pan or mold to further ensure a smooth panna cotta.

Put Your Own Twist

Once you feel you’ve got the hang of the dessert, feel free to add your own unique twist to it. From the base to the topping, you can adjust the recipe as you like. Since this was a Valentine’s day treat at my home, I chose to go with the classic rose flavoring and dried roses on top.

You can replace it with fruits like strawberries, cranberries or even make fresh raspberry sauce at home. The panna cotta itself can also be flavored with various ingredients other than rose. You can add coffee, butterscotch, orange, lemon or just add the seeds from half a vanilla bean and keep things simple with a vanilla panna cotta.

Patience is Bitter, But Its Fruit is Sweet

This recipe does require a bit of patience. Individually, each component shouldn’t take you more than twenty minutes or so. However, assembling the whole dessert takes some time and a bit of patience as you have to let each layer set first. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get those sharp and clean layers as shown above.

How to Use Different Kinds of Agar

Just like gelatin sometimes comes in sheets and sometimes in powder form, agar can also come in different forms. And if you always want the perfect desserts, you need to know how to use different kinds of agar. Here’s a brief guide.

·         Agar Powder

When using agar powder, remember a ratio of 1:1 of agar to water. This means using 1 teaspoon (about 2 grams) of agar in 1 cup water. To activate the agar, you need to dissolve it in water and cook it for a few minutes. That’s why boiling the coconut milk mixture in this recipe and constantly whisking it is a crucial step for activating your agar powder.

·         Agar Flakes

For agar flakes, add 1 tablespoon of the flakes to a quarter cup of water and cook in a pan over medium heat. Keep cooking and stirring till the flakes dissolve and the mixture starts boiling and turning gelatinous. You can then use it in your desserts.

·         Agar Bar

When using a bar of agar, the ratio is 1:3 where you have to use 1 bar of agar and 3 cups of water. Break the bar into pieces and add it to the water in a pan. Keep cooking and stirring the bar till it completely dissolves, and the mixture starts turning a little sticky. You can then use it to set your desserts.

Storing a Panna Cotta Dessert

Since panna cotta has a creamy texture, it won’t retain its structure if left outside for too long. It will start melting and lose its beautiful shape. Therefore, it’s best to store this dessert in the refrigerator till you’re ready to enjoy or serve this delicacy.

Besides that, the almond base of the dessert can also go soft and lose its crumble very quick. Therefore, don’t let it sit for more than a day and keep it an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Most importantly, don’t forget to tag your creations with @joyfulhomecooking or include #joyfulhomecooking in your tags so that I can see and share with all my wonderful followers.


Vegan panna cotta slice

My Pretty Panna Cotta Slice

Looking for the perfect and prettiest dessert to enjoy on Valentine’s or otherwise? This silky smooth and creamy panna cotta slice will be the ultimate treat for your taste buds. It’ll be hard to stop at one slice with these healthy and wholesome panna cotta slices!

  • Prep Time: 2
  • Cook Time: 25 mins + 3 hours setting time
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Author:
  • Joyce Mrad




  • 2/3 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt


  • 400ml full fat coconut cream
  • 70g non-dairy white chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater essence*
  • 2 tsp agar-agar powder


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosewater essence
  • Pinch beetroot powder (for the color)**
  • 2 tbsp rose blossoms



  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a 6-inch pan with baking paper.
  2. Chuck all the flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt into the food processor.
  3. Pulse the ingredients until you get a moist, moldable mixture.
  4. Firmly press the dough mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Pop the pan into the oven.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes
  7. Set aside to cool.


  1. Combine chocolate and coconut cream, rosewater essence to make a silky smooth ganache in a saucepan.
  2. Let the mixture simmer and boil over low heat.
  3. Add agar and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Stir constantly.
  4. Keep the mixture on heat for approx. 5 minutes until the agar dissolves.
  5. Slowly pour the filling into a cooled crust.


  1. Place flowers in a heatproof jar and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 4-24 hours. Strain in a colander lined with a paper towel, squeezing the flowers to get all the color out.
  2. In a small pot, bring the strained water to a boil, add the cane sugar and rosewater essence and bring to a boil.
  3. Add agar-agar and cook until completely dissolved. Allow to boil for approximately 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Turn off the heat, add a pinch of beetroot powder for the color and allow to cool to room temperature before gently pouring over the top of the set coconut filling. Place the pan in the fridge for 2 hours to set.
  5. Slice according to your preference and decorate with rose blossoms for a special valentine’s look!


*Make sure to add the flavoring a little bit at a time, tasting as you go, as extracts can vary in strength and overpower other flavors of the dessert.

**You can use saffron or matcha to add different colors in your dessert.

Keywords: panna cotta, rose panna cotta, vegan panna cotta, gluten free panna cotta, dairy-free panna cotta

Let me know how fast this dessert disappears in your kitchen

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