With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, love is in the air. This is a perfect time to treat your loved ones (and yourself) to a sweet delicacy, and this Raspberry Coconut Kanten certainly fits the bill. Not only is this dessert simple to prepare, but it is visually stunning as well. The vibrant red of the raspberries is striking against the stark white coconut cream. Although Valentine’s Day is often synonymous with chocolate, I wanted to create a lighter and brighter dessert to highlight the natural beauty and sweetness of fruit.
The secret to this dessert is agar agar flakes, which is also known in Japan as kanten and is traditionally used in Japanese desserts. Though this ingredient may sound mysterious, it is simply an odorless, tasteless substance made from sea vegetables. Due to its natural thickening and gelling properties, agar agar is a perfect vegan substitute for gelatin. You can typically find agar agar in Asian markets and health food stores, or you can easily purchase it online. This Raspberry Coconut Kanten makes wonderful use of this fun ingredient. The agar agar flakes allow the coconut milk to set up into a firm, creamy custard, which pairs wonderfully with tart raspberry chia pudding to make a perfect vegan treat for Valentine’s Day.
The secret to this dessert is agar agar, known in Japan as kanten, an odorless, tasteless substance made from sea vegetables. Traditionally used in Japanese desserts, agar agar has thickening and gelling properties that make it a perfect vegan substitute for gelatin. You can typically find agar agar in Asian markets and health food stores.
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened full fat coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 Tbsp agar agar flakes (see note)
- 2 cups raspberries (see note)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- In a small pot, combine coconut milk and 1 Tbsp of the sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.
- Add agar agar flakes and whisk well to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until agar agar is fully melted, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and divide mixture evenly among six ramekins or small bowls (see note). Place in refrigerator and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
- In a small pot, combine raspberries, water, lemon juice, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved and berries are broken down, about 5 minute. Remove from heat, pour into a medium bowl, and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Pour in chia seeds and stir well to combine. Let sit until mixture is somewhat thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove ramekins from refrigerator and fill evenly with the chia mixture. Place ramekins back in refrigerator and chill until chia mixture is firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
If you have trouble finding agar agar flakes at your local health food store or Asian market, you can order them online.
Because raspberries are currently out of season, I opted to use frozen raspberries instead. When in season, fresh raspberries would work equally well in this recipe.
When choosing your serving vessels, note that each serving is approximately 1/2 cup.