Pumpkin Pie Panna Cotta

Panna cotta, which is essentially Italy's "cream jello," gets an American redo that takes on the best trappings of pumpkin pie with none of the bother. You heat, you stir, you are done.
This sweet is a perfect foil for the apple tart, or just spooned up between sips of coffee, or a sweet wine like a red Recioto della Valpolicella, or a white Moscato.
Cook to Cook: Use organic cream if possible and be sure the sour cream contains only cream and culture, no other additives.

Make panna cotta 4 to 72 hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or more to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (an 8-ounce container) sour cream
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (could be roasted sweet squash, like Kabocha, or butternut, or canned pumpkin)

1. Put the cold water in a small cup, and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a 3-quart saucepan, warm the cream with the sugar, salt, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla over medium-high heat. Do not let it boil. Whisk in the gelatin until thoroughly dissolved. Take the cream off the heat and cool about 5 minutes.

2. Put the sour cream and pumpkin puree in a medium bowl. Gently whisk in the warm cream, a little at a time, until it is smooth. Taste the mixture for sweetness; it may need another teaspoon of sugar. Turn the panna cotta into a serving bowl, or 8 2/3-cup ramekins, custard cups, or coffee cups. Fill each one about three-quarters full with the cream. Chill 4 to 72 hours.

3. To serve, either unmold by packing the molds in hot towels and then turning each out onto a dessert plate, or serve the panna cotta in their containers. If using a single bowl, scoop tablespoonfuls of panna cotta into small bowls, or alongside wedges of apple tart.
Cook time: 
Serves 6 to 8, doubles easily
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