Strawberry Kanten

Kanten (agar thickener, but also the term used to refer to the custard made using it) is a go-to dessert at our place. It’s light, refreshing and you can feel virtuous eating it : see why when you read the ingredient list ! Nonetheless, this fruit custard is tasty and brings a smile upon savouring.

Bonus, once you’ve made it a couple of times, it becomes super-fast and super-simple and you can adapt for any fruit you have in season (except citrus or pineapple – I won’t get into the chemistry of why – but unless you have some serious culinary guidance to get it to work, just trust me and don’t go there). Not so bonus, the first time you work with agar, it can seem a little daunting or overwhelming due being unfamiliar. Push forth and through as kanten is a great way to get to know sea vegetables with absolutely no taste of the sea.

Yield: 6 servings

What you need:

  • 4 cups strawberries (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots (unsulphured preferred)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter
  • tiny pinch salt
  • 3 drops lime zest oil (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons agave, maple syrup or raw honey (optional, I don’t personally use them, but if you want it sweeter…)
  • 1/2 bar agar (kanten)
  • 1 cup water (in addition to the 3/4 cup above)

What you do:

  1. Break up the half-bar of agar into 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Cover tightly and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, whisking at about the half-way mark, until the agar is completely dissolved. If it needs longer to dissolve completely because your chunks were bigger, give it time. If you leave lumps, you get lumpy custard = not pleasant.
  2. To keep your mind off the agar and the waiting while it does its thing in the simmer pot, put the strawberries, chopped apricots, 3/4 cup water, coconut butter, pinch of salt and lime zest oil in a high-speed blender. There isn’t really a substitute for a high-speed blender here since you really need to blend the dried apricots and strawberry seeds into a homogeneous and smooth silkiness.
  3. Blend until smooth and silky – running a fruit smoothie cycle a couple of times over does that.
  4. Get your serving pots at ready, the finish goes quickly – particularly if you’re using frozen fruits which will encourage the agar to begin setting almost immediately! If you want more time to play, then make sure your fruit is at room temperature.
  5. Once the agar is ready, pour it into the blender and run on medium 30 seconds or so, to incorporate throughout the fruit mixture evenly. Quickly pour the mixture into the serving cups/pots. Allow to set. If you want it to set faster, place the pots in the fridge.
  6. Serve once set, cool or at room temperature.

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