Pumpkin Panna Cotta for Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Pecan Brittle 1 2425x2634A few weeks ago my long-time assistant, Emily Bell, suggested that I offer readers a chance to end their Thanksgiving feasts with silky smooth pumpkin panna cotta in place of the traditional pumpkin pie. She had a favorite recipe for this Italian specialty–typically a mixture of cream, milk, and sugar bound with gelatin–and quickly convinced me that we could rework it, adding pumpkin puree and spices. My mouth was watering just thinking of this confection, so I wasted no time heading into the kitchen.

It took several tries before the flavors were balanced and the texture perfectly creamy, but finally we had a winner. I proposed that we add as garnishes dollops of softly whipped cream and crushed pecan brittle. The snowy white cap of cream contrasted nicely with the dusty orange hue of the “cooked creams,” while the glistening pecan brittle with its crunch was a great foil for the smoothness of this dessert. Continue reading

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blueberries

A classic Italian dessert, panna cotta (Italian for cooked cream) is a gloriously smooth custard made without eggs. It is bound with gelatin and served chilled. The recipe featured here is from Brian Alberg, chef at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He cleverly uses buttermilk to add a bright tang to this confection, and to keep it from being cloying. Garnished with fresh blueberries and mint, this dessert is the answer when you want something that’s quick, make-ahead, and delicious.

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