Spring Puddings

Nut milk “cotta” with caramelised buckwheat


This nut milk “cotta” might look fancy, but it is one of the simplest desserts to make. People are often scared of making ‘set’ puddings such as a panna cotta, but I find agar agar (a seaweed-based jellifier) easy to use and more reliable than traditional gelatin.

replacing the traditional dairy of a panna cotta with cashew milk for a vegan alternative.

I often make my own nut milk for to use in a “cotta”, although now there are now some great varieties available to buy. Do look for brands that have only nuts, water and salt in the ingredients – I use Plenish or Rude Health.  Sprouted buckwheat is sold at health food stores.

This recipe originally appeared in the April 2020 edition of House and Garden magazine.  Photo courtesy of Simon Bajada.


For the ‘cotta’:

  • 800ml cashew milk
  • 2tsp vanilla bean paste
  • ½tsp cinnamon
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 5g or 2½tbsp agar agar

For the toasted buckwheat:

  • 1tbsp light vegetable oil
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 6tbsp sprouted buckwheat
  • ½tsp grated fresh nutmeg



  • Put all the ‘cotta’ ingredients into a pan with a pinch of fine sea salt and bring to the boil, without stirring. Whisk for 1 minute while boiling to dissolve the agar agar, then simmer for 3 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly.
  • Pour into dariole moulds and allow to cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge for at least 3 hours until set.
  • To toast the buckwheat, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and add the sugar. When it has melted, add the buckwheat and grated nutmeg. Stir to toast for a couple of minutes until the buckwheat has browned slightly.
  • Before serving, run a knife around the inside of each mould. Invert a plate over the top and turn upside down, shaking gently to loosen. Gently remove the moulds. Scatter with the toasted buckwheat to serve.


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