Jan 4, 2013

Carrot and Beet Panna Cotta

I was out for lunch with my team during the Holiday season. As part of the private menu, there were two dessert choices - Tiramisu and Panna Cotta.

I was slightly disappointed to note that 13 out of 15 people had chosen Tiramisu for dessert. Only a hapless colleague and I had chosen Panna Cotta. And I received comments to the tune of "Why didn't you order Tiramisu?", "Of course, we chose the best choice", "What IS Panna Cotta?"...

While Tiramisu is the universally known picker upper dessert from Italy, I have always been partial to its lesser known country cousin, Panna Cotta. Its fresh taste and minimal processing have been some of its selling points for me.

The Panna Cotta I had that day was made from ricotta cheese which was a pleasant surprise for me as I am used to panna cottas made from condensed milk or heavy cream.

Today, I wanted to try my hand at ricotta cheese panna cotta. Also, after a month-long indulgence in diabetic-inducing desserts during the holiday season, I have tried to incorporate some veggies in this dessert in an attempt to add fiber and to silence my conscience.

Wherever a food setting agent is needed, I prefer to use china grass (agar agar) over gelatin for two reasons:
1. I avoid beef, pork and its by products in my diet
2. Gelatin based food depends on refrigeration for it setting while agar agar could set at room temperature. This is an advantage during the cold months as you can still enjoy your favorite desserts :)

Carrot Panna Cotta with sweetened cream


  • Carrots - 2 long
  • Beetroots - 1 small
  • ricotta cheese - 1 tub
  • sugar - 1 cup
  • agar agar flakes- 3 tbsp
  • water - 1/4 cup
  • low fat milk - 1 1/2 cups, divided

  1. Soak agar agar in water for 10 minutes.
  2. Peel and quarter the carrot and beetroot .
  3. Pressure cook the carrot and beet separately, each with 1/2 cup of milk. This helps remove the earthy smell from these vegetables.
  4. When cool, mash the cooked veggies and if needed, pass these through a sieve.
  5. In a heavy bottomed pan, bring 1/2 cup of milk to a boil. Add in ricotta cheese and sugar. With a wooden spoon, break the cheese and keep stirring until incorporated. Let this simmer on very low heat.
  6. Strain and add the agar agar water to the cheese mixture.
  7. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring. This step is very important. If you stop before the agar has full dissolved, the dish will never set.
  8. Divide this mixture into 3. Add the mashed carrots to 1 portion and the mashed beetroot to 1 portion. Add vanilla essence to the remaining portion.
  9. Now depending on how you like it, either mold these as individual  servings, as layer 'em on.
  10. Let set at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  11. Unmold to a plate and serve.
I tried different presentation techniques with this. I molded the carrot flavored panna cotta and scooped the beet flavored one. Which one do you prefer?
Beet Panna Cotta

Sending this to  Agar Agar Recipe contest sponsored by Marine Chemicals , Kochi. www.indiaagar.com hosted at Food Corner’



  1. Delicious panna cotta recipe.

  2. this looks delicios...and nice colour with carrot & beet.
    Thank you for sending it to the contest.Good Luck with your entry!!

  3. Ah,forgot to tell,To complete the entry submission, can you post a photo of this dish to Marine Chemicals facebook page? Please check item 5 in contest rules, you can find the link for the page…Hope you will do that...

  4. Looks interesting and thx for linking to the event.

    Event: New U - 2013

  5. Awesome recipe thanks for sharing this with my event...
    Give vote to your fav recipes on blog and facebook both space... who get more votes will be get surprise giveaway...Voting application visible at bottom side and footer both side of blog, you can choose one more options or find your recipe @ both place to increase your chances...

    ONGOING EVENT- "Foodabuous Fest: January Series"
    Preeti's Kitchen Life

  6. What a fantastic use of carrot - and it looks just great. Please do drop me a line on ca4ole@gmail.com if you are ok with me linking it to my blog (Carole's Chatter). Cheers


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