Elegant Creamy Vegan Dessert Recipes Using Plant-based Milks

  • Plant-based chef Nathi Toro uses nut milk and natural emulsifiers to make creamy vegan desserts.

  • Using a blender, a food processor, and a freezer, these desserts are totally raw vegan.

In this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen we dive deep into the Raw Vegan realm to create desserts that will delight even the most luxurious of palettes. Our plant-based chef, Nathi Toro,  introduces us to the magic of hazelnuts using both the nut and nut milk to create a velvety hazelnut tart and creamy vegan panna cotta.

How do you make a vegan panna cotta you ask? You'll have to watch the episode for all the details, but the secret is agar-agar, a plant-based gelatin that gives the dessert its signature texture.

Adding vegan items to your menu is a no-brainer as consumers continue to trend towards healthier, more mindful food choices. Don’t disqualify yourself simply because you don’t offer plant-based options. Using ingredients already in your pantry, you could be offering easy vegan dishes, placing your brand at the top of the list for this new breed of foodie.

Find the recipe for Nathi's delectable desserts below and watch the episode for tips and tricks to creating these addictive sweets!

Hazelnut Chocolate Tart

Filling
1 ½ cups cashews, soaked
½ cup hazelnut milk
½ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon soy lecithin
¾ cup coconut oil, melted
¾ cup cacao powder

Blend all ingredients, except cacao powder and coconut oil, until completely smooth. Gradually stream in melted coconut oil while the blender is running. Add cacao powder in thirds, blending until thoroughly combined each time. Continue to blend until completely smooth. Pour filling over prepared crust and let set in freezer. Once frozen, remove from pan and cut tart into long triangular slices.

Crust
1 cup hazelnuts
2 ½ tablespoons coconut sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cacao butter, melted
½ tablespoon coconut oil, melted

In a blender, pulse hazelnuts, ½ cup at a time, for 2-3 second increments until the hazelnuts turn to a fine flour-like consistency. Sift and return any large pieces of hazelnut to the blender and pulse again. Be careful not to over blend or the hazelnuts will turn into hazelnut butter rather than a meal. Mix the hazelnut meal and the remaining ingredients by hand. Press crust flat into a 1/6 pan lined with parchment. Smooth and level the top with an offset spatula.

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Hazelnut Milk
1 cup hazelnuts, soaked
3 cups water

Blend above ingredients until hazelnuts are well broken down. Separate the hazelnut pulp from the milk using a chinois or a nut milk bag. Dehydrate any remaining hazelnut pulp to use as hazelnut flour.

Chocolate Shard
½ cup cacao powder
½ cup cacao butter, melted
¼ cup agave
pinch salt

In a mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients until well combined. Pour chocolate onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Let set in the freezer and once firm, break into pieces.  Store frozen.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry sauce

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Panna Cotta
½ cup coconut meat
1 cup cashews, soaked
½ cup almond milk
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons raw agave or maple syrup
¼ cup Agar Agar solution with 1.0% Agar Agar*
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
½ vanilla pod, scraped
½ cup coconut oil

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into semi-sphere silicone molds and place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes or until set.

Raspberry sauce
1 lb frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon agar-agar
½ cup agave

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Strain.

To make agar solution with 1.0% Agar Agar:

  1. Weigh your panna cotta mixture.
  2. Weigh 1 cup of water.
  3. Add the totals together to get the weight of your entire recipe.   
  4. Multiply total by 0.01. This amount is what you need to weigh out in agar powder.
  5. Add the cup of water to a saucepan and heat. When it starts to simmer add the measured Agar Agar. Bring to a boil and stir for 3 - 4 minutes.
  6. Measure a ¼ cup of this solution and blend with rest of mixture. Pour into molds. Let set in refrigerator until ready to serve, then remove.

For example: Your mixture = 110g. Cup of water = 250g. Total = 360g.

360g x 0.01 = 3.6g

Therefore, you need to weigh 3.6g agar. Then add to 1 cup water and proceed as per the recipe.