Lemon, coconut milk panna cotta with blueberries and a chocolate, teff brownie crust

Teff is a versatile, nutrient dense cereal grass commonly used in Ethiopian cuisine. If you’ve had injera, you’ve likely had some teff; cooked as a whole grain, it’s also an easy to prepare and flexible alternative to corn meal in many savory, polenta style recipes.

In this application, the grain is cooked whole to give it a soft, chewy cake-like texture. Along with the cocoa powder, the white miso, and the blueberries, it provides a rich but not too sinful dessert. No baking required.


For the teff brownie:
1/4 cup of teff
1 cup of water
3T of cocoa powder
3T of agave nectar
2t of black strap molasses
2T of coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

For the panna cotta:
1 1/2 cups of coconut milk*
1T of white miso
1T of lemon juice
1T of agar flakes
3T of agave nectar
Pinch of sea salt

For the blueberries:
2 cups of blueberries
2t of lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup of sugar
1T of arrowroot powder dissolved in 1T of cool water***


Prepare the teff, the panna cotta and the blueberries in that order.

For the teff, in a pan with a lid, bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
Add a pinch of sea salt, the teff, and the coconut oil.
Reduce to very low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat, add the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.
Spoon the teff out into a 6″ pie plate (or similar) to cool and smooth with the back of a spoon.
It will be a little gooey and sticky at this point still — that’s expected.
Refrigerate uncovered while you make the panna cotta.

For the panna cotta, bring the coconut milk to a light boil (you won’t need a lid).
Add all of the ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.
Simmer lightly for 15 – 20 minutes to dissolve the agar.
Aim to reduce the liquid to one heaping cup.
Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.
Pour over the brownie and return to the refrigerator uncovered.

For the blueberries, warm a pan on medium heat.
Add half of the blueberries, lemon juice and sea salt, and stir to combine.
If the blueberries are slow to start, or don’t produce much moisture, add 1 to 2T of water to the pan.
Once the blueberries have started to lose their moisture, add the sugar.
Stir to combine, and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the remaining blueberries and cook for another 5 minutes.
Whisk the arrowroot with the water.
Add the mixture to the blueberries slowly, stirring continuously until thickened.
The blueberries should be quick thick.
Let stand to cool 5 minutes.
Pour the blueberries over the panna cotta.
Refrigerate for about 15 minutes uncovered.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.

*To reduce the amount of fat from the coconut milk substitute a cup of unsweetened soy milk. The result will be lighter but not quite as rich.

**Although manufacturing processes are changing, some commercial table sugars are still filtered/bleached using animal bone charcoal. As a rule, organic sugar, beet sugar and a number of other types are not filtered using this kind of a process at all. Agave and other liquid sweeteners also provide substitutes, although you may need more thickening agent in this recipe.

***You can use corn starch in place of arrowroot powder if that’s what you have on hand. Add the mixture slowly and no need to add the whole amount if you don’t need it.