Sunday, November 20, 2011

Easy as No Pie: Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Bourbon Pecan Toffee


Do you ever struggle with the pie crust? I love making pies at the holiday, but I will admit, my crust is more "rustic" than perfect. I bought a pie dish with fluted edges, in fact, just so I could get a decent-looking pie out of the oven.

They taste good, don't get me wrong. But there are moments where I am rolling the dough and it's just not going my way, and I think, "Whoever made up the saying 'easy as pie?'" It's not that easy.

Well, here's easy for you. So easy, no oven is required. And no eggs, either in case you have an egg allergy in the family.

Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Bourbon Pecan Toffee Sauce
1 envelope gelatin
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 3 tbs. milk (not skim)
1 cup pumpkin puree, canned is fine, not pie filling
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon (milder flavor)
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean, (save the bean and put in sugar for vanilla sugar!)
pinch salt

Place 1/4 cup water in a sauce pan. Add the gelatin and let soften for one minute. Heat the saucepan gently, stirring until the gelatin is well dissolved.

In a food processor, add all the other ingredients and blend well. Drizzle in the dissolved gelatin as you pulse. Strain this through a fine mesh sieve over a large measuring cup. Divide the mixture among eight small ramekins or dessert dishes. Place in the refrigerator to chill, at least four hours before dinner.

Prepare the bourbon pecan toffee sauce. When cooled, top the panna cotta with the sauce. You can do this well ahead of dinner, place back in the refrigerator. Relax, you did not have to struggle with pie crust and dessert looks amazing (even though it was very easy).

Toffee Sauce:
  • 1 3/4 sticks (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup chopped and toasted pecans, plus 8 whole pecans for garnish
  • 1 oz. boubon
In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over moderate heat. Add brown sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, stir often. Stir in cream and vanilla, reducing the heat to a simmer, and simmer until thickened slightly. In a small saucepan, flame the bourbon, do not do this right under the hood of the stove. Flames will come up out of the pan. Be very careful. Let it burn off, then place a lid over the pot to be sure the flame is out. Add the bourbon to the toffee sauce and stir well. Add the toasted pecans. Allow to cool to room temperature before topping the chilled panna cotta. You can do this ahead, and place the desserts back in the fridge.


3 comments:

Gourmet Gadget Gal said...

Hi Beth, We love your Cleaner Plate cookbook and just reviewed it on my blog - gourmetgadgetgal - We have all the stuff to make the pumpkin gnocci with the kids this week.

Rachel said...

Can't believe I'm just finding this recipe now. This looks soooo tasty. Panna cottas are a good desert for us.

FWIW, I'm with you on pie crusts. I am not gifted in that sphere. I cheat bad - I buy the frozen stuff. (shhhh... don't throw me out of the healthy cooking club, please!)

Expatriate Chef said...

Sister, I have an organic ready-made crust in the freezer for emergency dessert options. No judgement here!