Each summer I try to showcase at least one vegan “jello”. This year’s Coconut Raspberry Agar, made with agar-agar a gelatin alternative, is the perfect summertime treat. Not only does it taste like a tropical vacation, but, since agar melts at much a higher temperature then traditional gelatin, it will survive the journey in the summer heat to your friend’s cookout where you will be the hero for bringing something everyone can enjoy, even your vegan friend. This, and many fun and tasty recipes, appear in my book Hello Jell-O! but I have included it hear so you can give it a try.
4 cups coconut milk
2 cups sugar
9 teaspoons agar-agar powder
3 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup fresh raspberries
In a large saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, 1 cup of the sugar, and 5 teaspoons of the agar-agar powder and bring just to a boil over high heat, being careful not to let the coconut milk boil over. Decrease the heat to medium and whisk continuously for 3 minutes. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish and refrigerate until set, but not firm (about 4 minutes).
Meanwhile, in a separate large saucepan, whisk together the water, almond extract, the remaining 1 cup sugar, and the remaining 4 teaspoons of agar-agar and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Gently spoon the mixture over the coconut layer. As the top layer begins to thicken (this will happen quickly), sink raspberries down into the sugar-water agar, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. In the dish, cut the agar into blocks with a knife or shapes using small cookie cutters with one raspberry in the center of each block or shape, and serve.