This Vegan Panna Cotta Tart is made of simple homemade pie crust, easy 3-ingredient no-bake custard filling, and fruity pomegranate berry jelly topping. It’s a beautiful Italian dessert recipe that is dairy-free, versatile & perfect for any occasion! (Use any fruits for the jelly or make the custard with vegan eggnog or punch to serve as a special Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.)
Vegan Panna Cotta & Jelly Tart Recipe
Have you ever tried vegan panna cotta? Really, it’s super easy to make, so delicious and just perfect when you want a quick and simple dessert! Usually, I enjoy my vegan panna cotta just with a fruity berry compote topping such as homemade strawberry sauce or cinnamon apples. But since I tried it as a vegan custard filling for a tart with crispy cookie-like homemade pie crust and jelly topping, it quickly became my new favorite recipe!
What is Panna Cotta?
Traditional Panna Cotta is a simple Italian milk pudding dessert made of vanilla-flavored sweetened cream and thickened with gelatin. Anyway, this custard-like pudding is easy to make vegan and even in the plant-based version it tastes equally delicious or even better!
3-Ingredient Vegan Panna Cotta
The vegan Panna Cotta requires only 3 ingredients. It’s coconut milk or another rich non-dairy milk (e.g. oat, almond, soy or cashew milk), some sweetener such as maple syrup or organic sugar, and agar powder to thicken – that’s all! Instead of the plant milk, you could also use a delicious creamy flavored drink of your choice. I also add vanilla for more flavor, but it’s just optional. However, feel free to add some Christmas spices like chai spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest or whatever you like!
To make vegan custard (Panna Cotta), just stir together all ingredients in a pot, and cook for 2 minutes or according to package instructions of the agar powder you use. Then pour it into glasses for a simple dessert or into a prepared pie crust to make a tart. Refrigerate until the custard has set and serve with fruit compote or make the red berry pomegranate jelly.
Panna Cotta Tart with Homemade Pie Crust
Since there are already so many pie and tart recipes with no-bake cookie crust here on the blog, I made this Panna Cotta tart with homemade egg-less shortcrust pastry. To turn the pastry dough into a crispy cookie-like pie crust, you have to blind bake it.
What’s the difference between Pie crust and Tart shell?
Actually, there are no significant differences between a pie crust and a tart shell. The ingredients of the pastry dough and method are almost the same – just the baking pan looks different. When making the crust for a sweet-tart I prefer adding some sugar to the dough but for a savory tart, I just add some salt without any sweetener.
What is blind baking?
Blind baking or pre-baking may sound pretty intimidating but it is simple and just means that you bake the pie crust before adding the filling to it. You can basically blind bake any pie if you want an extra-crisp crust like no-bake cheesecake, pie, tart or vegan quiche.
I already included step-by-step photos, showing you how to pre-bake pie crust in this pumpkin pie recipe. However, that recipe requires just a partially baked pie crust which means the baking time is shorter because you’re baking the pie crust longer once it is filled.
Anyway, this vegan Panna cotta tart recipe calls for a fully baked pie shell. That means it must be completely baked because we obviously don’t want to eat unbaked dough, right? We rather want the pie crust tastes like golden brown and crisp homemade cookies!
Tips for Perfect Pie Crust or Tart Shell
While the pie dough bakes, the fat from vegan butter melts. This causes the pie dough to collapse so it often shrinks down the sides of the pie dish or tart pan. To avoid this, please do not skip the following 2 steps:
- Chill the tart shell before baking!
- Top the crust with pie weights!
How to Blind Bake Pie Crust
Once you have prepared the dough, pressed it into the tart pan, and chilled the crust, you want to prick holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. This allows steam to escape during baking and prevents the crust from puffing up. It’s also called “docking” the pie crust, by the way.
Next, carefully line the pie dough with parchment paper, then add some pie weights like dry rice, beans or chickpeas. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and firm enough so they won’t shrink
Since the bottom of the pie crust is covered with weights, it doesn’t really cook. So once the crust is golden brown around the edges, carefully remove the parchment paper with pie weights, then let the crust cook a little longer on its own.
Once the tart crust is baked, let cool completely before adding the vegan panna cotta custard filling.
Berry Pomegranate Jelly Topping
You can absolutely use your favorite fruit juice or Christmas punch to make the jelly topping for this vegan Panna Cotta. Anyway, the vegan jelly mixture comes together quickly and requires basically only 2 ingredients! Just mix your favorite fruit juice and agar powder in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook as instructed, stirring constantly. Then pour over the firm vegan Panna cotta custard filling.
If you prefer making homemade juice, just blend your favorite fruits/ berries, such as pomegranate, red currants, strawberries, raspberries, mango, blackberries, grapes or any fruit you have on hand. If using fruits with seeds, strain the blended purée through a fine-meshed sieve to discard the seeds. Depending on the consistency, you can add some water to thin (for example when using mango because it’s pretty thick). And if using sour berries like red currants or cranberries, you want to add a bit of organic sugar or maple syrup to sweeten.
This Vegan Panna Cotta & Jelly Tart is:
- Gluten-free (if using gluten-free flour)
- Easy to make
- With crispy pie crust
- Topped with Berry Jelly
- The perfect vegan dessert!
How to store, freeze, make-ahead?
I recommend storing the vegan custard tart in the refrigerator for up to 5 days but I don’t recommend freezing it because this will alter the consistency.
However, you can prepare the pie dough ahead of time. Make the pastry dough, place in the tart or pie pan, wrap in foil and chill in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or you can also freeze the dough shaped into a disc and wrapped in foil for up to 3 months. Just make sure to cover the pie crust tightly. To thaw, store overnight in the refrigerator.
Looking for more easy vegan tart and pie recipes? Here are some of my favorites:
- No-Bake Mango Cheesecake
- Blackberry Mousse Tart
- Chocolate Mousse Pie
- Chocolate Cream Pie
- Summer Fruit Tart
- Vanilla Custard Tart
If you try this Vegan Panna Cotta & Jelly Tart Recipe be sure to leave a comment and rating letting me know how it turns out! Your feedback is always super helpful for me and other readers who are planning to try the recipe. And if you take a photo of your Italian dessert, please make sure to tag me on Instagram @biancazapatka #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy!
Panna Cotta Tart with Custard and Jelly
Vegan Panna Cotta
- 2 cups full-fat coconut milk 500ml (*see notes for options)
- 1/3 cup agave or maple syrup 80ml, or sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp pure agar powder for 500ml liquid (*see notes)
- 1 cup pomegranate juice 250ml, or other fruit juice (*see notes)
- 1 tsp pure agar powder for 250ml liquid
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cold cubed vegan butter and the cold water. Knead with your hands until the dough starts to clump together (or use a food processor). Then transfer to a working surface and continue kneading until a smooth dough forms.
- Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- After the chill time roll out the dough between two sheets of foil or baking paper a little larger than your pan (see step-by-step photos in the blog post). Then using the foil or parchment to lift it into a 10-inch (25,5cm) tart pan (or 9-inch pie dish). Remove foil and press the bottom and sides firmly to form an evenly tart shell.
- Cover the pie crust and chill in the refrigerator another 30 minutes. (You can make the dough up to 5 days ahead of time or freeze it, *see recipe notes).
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Prick the bottom a few times with a fork, then line the crust with parchment paper and top with pie weights (such as dried rice, beans or chickpeas).
- Blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove tart from the oven and carefully lift out the parchment paper with the weights. Return the tart to the oven and bake until the bottom crust is golden brown, about 10-15 minutes longer.
- Let the baked crust cool completely before adding the filling.
Vegan Panna Cotta
- Pour 1 cup of the coconut milk into a saucepan. Stir in the agar powder to dissolve and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or according to package instructions, stirring frequently.
- Remove from the heat, quickly whisk in maple syrup, vanilla extract and remaining coconut milk, then immediately pour it into the prepared tart shell.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour, until the filling has set.
- Pour the fruit juice in a saucepan Stir in the agar powder to dissolve and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or according to package instructions, stirring frequently.
- Allow to cool slightly, then pour over the panna cotta layer. Place tart in the fridge for 2 hours to set.
- Remove tart from the pan by gently pressing against the removable bottom. Garnish with fresh fruits and berries. Enjoy!
- Gluten-free pie crust: you can sub a gluten-free flour blend 1:1. I suggest adding an additional flax-egg (stir 1 tbsp ground flax seeds into 3 tbsp hot water and set aside for about 5 minutes until jelly) to prevent a crumbly dough.
- Coconut milk: You can sub another rich non-dairy milk or your favorite flavored drink. If it’s sweetened, make sure to taste and adjust sweetness.
- Agar powder: Make sure to use 100% pure agar powder that sets 2 cups (500ml) of liquid. If using flakes you will need up to 3 times as much. You can read more information about agar in this blog post.
- Fruit juice: You can use your favorite store-bought or homemade juice as mentioned in the blog post above. Add sweetness to taste if it’s too sour.
- Make-Ahead Tip: You can make the pie dough in advance, wrap in foil and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. To thaw, store overnight in the refrigerator.
- The preparation time does not include chill time.
- Please read my blog post for additional information about this recipe.
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