Strawberry and Bay Leaf Panna Cotta (gluten free, vegan, sugar free)

Lately I've been curious about more interesting flavor combinations instead of relying on old favorites like caramel, chocolate, brown butter, etc. My 30 day project has been a great opportunity explore different ingredients that I might otherwise not try out. After reading about Grant Achatz using bay leaf with rhubarb, I couldn't get the idea of a sweet bay leaf dessert out of my head.

For yesterday's dessert I decided to make simple panna cotta with a bay leaf steeped in almond milk. To make it vegan I used agar agar, then topped it off with a quick strawberry compote. From start to finish this hardly took 20 minutes!

Would I make this again? Though I did like the bay leaf with strawberries, the bay was a tad bit overwhelming for my liking. Not only that, but the almond milk lacked the creaminess of a true panna cotta. Coconut milk or soy milk would be better options but I try to avoid soy and sometimes I don't want every vegan dessert to taste like coconut. Next time I might try making my own almond milk with less added water to concentrate the fat, or purchase an emulsifier to bind an additional fat to the liquid. Back to the drawing board!