Last week I was mulling over desserts. Between myself , my mother and my three sisters we always have the usual pies covered: pumpkin, pecan and apple. I’ve got to admit though that the pumpkin is never my favorite. And I always wish it would be. I love dessert, and I adore desserts that are creamy and rich. I know, it’s bad. But it’s not like I eat them all the time. Just some of the time. Okay, most of the time. Yet that pumpkin pie filling always lacks that certain creaminess I long for. I’m happy to say, however, I may have found a solution.
After making a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for a breast cancer bake sale last week, I found myself looking for a way to use up the left-over canned pumpkin in the refrigerator. I’d also bought some coconut milk earlier in the week and knew I wanted to somehow combine the two. The result: Pumpkin and Coconut Milk Panna Cotta. The combination was everything I hoped it would be and with a bit of ground ginger, it went above and beyond any pumpkin pie I’ve tasted.
Pumpkin and Coconut Milk Panna Cotta
Makes 8 servings
1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup half & half (or heavy cream)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1 packet gelatin
2 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
Toast the coconut flakes until light golden and set aside.
Place powdered gelatin in a small bowl and cover with 2 tablespoons milk. Set aside until softened.
In a saucepan combine the pumpkin, coconut milk, half & half, sugar, salt and ginger. Stir well until the sugar dissolves then bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture.
Pour into small bowls, ramekins, molds or glasses. Refrigerate at least 4 hours until set. Garnish with toasted coconut just before serving.