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Pumpkin Panna Cotta

From Pastry Chef Susan VandenBerg, Gracie’s, Providence

½ ounce powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons tepid water
3½ cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon grated orange zest
½ teaspoon allspice
1¾ cups pumpkin purée* or canned pumpkin
Orange segments, sliced red grapes and pecan shortbread cookies
for serving (optional)

Lightly coat the insides of 10 (6-ounce) ramekins with nonstick spray. Combine the gelatin and water and soak for 10 minutes.

Microwave the softened gelatin in 10-second intervals until melted.

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the remaining ingredients until blended; bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the melted gelatin. Strain the liquid and divide it among the prepared ramekins. Refrigerate until set, at least 3–4 hours or overnight.

Remove the panna cotta from the refrigerator 10–15 minutes before serving and then invert onto serving plates. Serve with fresh orange segments, sliced red grapes and pecan shortbread cookies if desired. Makes 10 servings.

*Cut 1 small sugar pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and lay on baking sheet cut side down. Bake at 400º for 1 hour. Scoop out flesh, purée and set in fine mesh sieve over a bowl and drain for at least two hours or overnight in the refrigerator. (Freezes well so bake two pumpkins if desired.)

WINE PAIRING: Sakonnet Vineyard Vidal Blanc Ice Wine. “Winter Wine,” as we call it, is a dessert wine made after a deep frost from the season’s last grapes to be harvested. It is pressed in its frozen state yielding just the sugar liquid contained in the grape without dilution by water, then fermented like any other wine.

The finished product is quite sweet with 2 percent residual sugar and a viscosity that borders on being slightly syrupy.
—Earl Samson, Sakonnet Vineyards, Little Compton

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