in a post this summer, when sweet juicy peaches were abundant, i offered a recipe for peach panna cotta. it proved to be my most popular post so far. apparently i am not the only person who loves panna cotta! i discovered this dessert several years ago in a restaurant whose name i unfortunately can’t remember. but i can assure you that i haven’t stopped experimenting with panna cotta recipes since then. and my family hasn’t complained yet.
it so happens that this week the food network’s fn dish is featuring another ingredient just begging to be made into a panna cotta – pumpkin! pumpkin is a fantastic item. first of all, it’s a beautiful vegetable that embodies the essence of fall – the bright colors, the rich flavors, and the fun of halloween. secondly, its depth of flavor makes it delicious in soup, roasted with root vegetables, or baked into pie. even the salted and toasted seeds (often called pepitas) make an excellent snack.
but i wanted to make something a little more adventurous and refined this week. so i turned to my old favorite, panna cotta. i added pumpkin puree and a hint of additional spice, borrowed from my usual pumpkin pie recipe. and since cooking with pumpkins put me in a holiday sort of mood, i decided that gingerbread would be the perfect accompaniment. the end result was a creamy, pumpkin-y, sweet, and spiced dessert. it can be beautifully perched on a gingerbread cookie or just eaten with a spoon in one hand and a cookie in the other. either way, you will be happy with these creamy flavors of the fall!
pumpkin panna cotta
1 cup whole milk
2 1/3 tsp powdered gelatin
3 cups heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp coarse mulling spice mix (cloves, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, or any combination thereof)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin purée (if using homemade, be sure to simmer the roasted purée until most of the moisture has been cooked out)
1. place the milk in a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. set aside for about 10 minutes.
2. in a small bowl, combine the heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and the mulling spices. set aside.
3. in another small bowl, combine the pumpkin purée, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and the cinnamon. set aside.
4. over medium heat, warm the milk, stirring constantly, until it reaches 135° f on a candy thermometer. remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 4 tbsp sugar until dissolved. then slowly pour in the cream mixture, using a strainer to remove the mulling spices.
5. place the pot in an ice bath and stir constantly until the mixture cools to 50° f and becomes a bit thicker than heavy cream. stir in the pumpkin mixture.
6. using a ladle, distribute the mixture into 8 ramekins (you may have some left over for a 9th!). place the ramekins on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap does not touch the surface of the mixture. refrigerate for at least 4 hours until fully set.
7. to serve, hold each ramekin in a small bowl of hot water for about 10 seconds, then invert onto a plate or a gingerbread cookie (see below).
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup water
2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1. cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. add the molasses, water, flour, salt, baking soda, and spices and mix on medium-low until combined. gather into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
2. heat the oven to 375° f.
3. roll the dough to 1/4 inch think on a lightly floured surface. using a round cookie cutter than matches the size of your ramekins, cut cookies and place on un-greased baking sheets.
4. bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
for more pumpkin fun, check out these blogs:
What’s Gaby Cooking: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
The Cultural Dish: Pumpkin Waffles
Cooking With Elise: Pumpkin Chip Scones
And Love It Too: Creamy Pumpkin Fruit Dip
Haute Apple Pie Girls: Pumpkin Bread Parfait
I Am Mommy: Pumpkin Pancakes
Dishin and Dishes: Maple Pumpkin Creme Brulee
Virtually Homemade: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins With Pumpkin Seed Streusel
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pumpkin Pizza
Daydreamer Desserts: Pumpkin Fattigman
From My Corner of Saratoga: Baking Pie In The Pumpkin
FN Dish: The Ultimate Pumpkin Soup
Cooking Channel: Pumpkin Risotto
The Sensitive Epicure: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies With Molasses Marshmallows
Daily*Dishin: Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake
ZaikaZabardast: Pumpkin Jalebi
Mooshu Jenne: Pumpkin Nutella Bread
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf