Go away gelatin! I don't like you!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by coconut, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. coconut

    coconut

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    Happy Belated Canada Day Chef's of all Forms and Cultures,

     Here is the thing: If you are or have ever been on a vegetarian/vegan diet you've become inclined to shun gelatin while grocery shopping. I've been researching Italian deserts when I get the chance to sit down at the local libray. Watching Lynn Crawford on Pitchin In create her tomato panna cotta was inspiring to get crackin on my own. If you know what type of dessert a panna cotta is (yes, a gelatin based dessert) traditionally thickened with fish bones. That leaves this veggie eater disenhanted and with a problem to solve on his own unless you want to...pitch in-excuse the pun. Thus, I am posting this thread for all the other vegetarians who run into this problem, finding a substitutionary thickening agent for gelatinous deserrts. Here is what I know and please argue with me on this one. Certain types of fruit contain a high-low amount of pectin which I suspect to be another form of thickening agent. If I for example simmered apple slices in cream, milk and sugar would it be stupid to try it in attempt to thicken the panna cotta? Thanks for reading this thread and I look forward to reading and replying to your comments.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  2. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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  3. jellly

    jellly

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    Agar is the best substitute for a panna cotta-type dessert.  Pectin can be great for certain things, but agar will give you a better texture in this application.  It is available in a lot of Asian markets in small packets.  If you Google "Agar panna cotta" you will find quite a few different recipes to choose from.
     
  4. coconut

    coconut

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    Ah yes, Agar, sounds quite useful. I'm looking forward to adding it to my Culinary arsenal.
     
  5. blueicus

    blueicus

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    I wouldn't suggest using agar the texture of the finished product will be too rigid no matter the concentration of agar you add. May I suggest using carrAgeenan, another gelling agent extracted from seaweed. Mix half and half iota and kappa carrageenan in a .5 percent concentration and you'll get a smoother product similar to as if you're using gelatin
     
  6. jellly

    jellly

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    Carrageenan would work well, too, but I disagree with your assessment of agar.  There are quite a few varieties of agar that have different strengths (just like gelatin coming in bronze and silver sheets, etc.).  I currently have a sauce I am using on my dessert menu that is set with agar at a low level and it flows beautifully without being runny.  If used properly it should make a good replacement for gelatin in panna cotta without being rubbery.
     
  7. pohaku

    pohaku

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    Here's a page with some discussion and usage guidelines.  I usually use the bar stuff myself for Asian style dishes (Kanten).  One advantage is that it sets at room temperature (although you will still probably want to chill it) so it doesn't melt as it sits out on the table.  It can also take a higher level of acidity than gelatin so you can use more acidic fruits with it, like fresh pineapple.  Acidic ingredients still break it down, but not as quickly as with gelatin.  Increase the amount of agar slightly for acidic ingredients.  If the product is too rigid, you can reduce the amount of agar.  I've not tried it as an ingredient for panna cotta.  Let us know how it works.

    Passion fruit Kanten squares with fresh crushed pineapple.

    http://www.bulkfoods.com/agar_agar.htm
     
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  8. crw1995

    crw1995

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    Don't use glean, there's a problem with it pre-gelling, best is kappa by far.