It’s finally here! September officially means it’s pumpkin season. Tis the season of pumpkins, cinnamon, cloves, squash and root vegetables. Also boots, scarves and crisp fall days. I probably have to wait until November to feel a crisp fall day in Houston, but I can wait. As long as it gets here. I made my first pumpkin recipe this week. Eek! It’s a Low Carb Pumpkin Coconut Cream Panna Cotta. It’s almost like pumpkin pie filling and creme brulee had a baby and didn’t get a crunchy sugar crust. Which is okay since it’s low carb and sugar-free. Anyway, it’s amazing and works well in decent sized ramekins or in shot glasses for a party with bite-sized foods.
Panna cotta is a traditional Italian dessert made of sweetened cream and gelatin. It’s smooth, silky and is made without eggs. Gelatin holds everything together. This version is dairy-free and made with coconut cream, but feel free to substitute whipping cream and half and half instead. Vegan or vegetarian? No problem! Substitute gelatin for Bakol Jel (the unflavored kind). There are other alternatives like tomato pectin, other “Jel” brands or agar to help with the thickening process.
You can find packets of plain gelatin at almost any grocery store. I frequently use this Knox gelatin, and find it at my local Kroger or HEB. The trick to this recipe is to bloom the gelatin before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. To bloom the gelatin, sprinkle it over 1/4 cup of water in a bowl or very small saucepan. Then let the gelatin sit for about a minute. This allows the gelatin to soften and blend into the panna cotta. Once softened, heat the water/gelatin mixture until all of the gelatin is dissolved. Finally, remove it from the heat and you are good to go!
Pumpkin (the most important part)
I am a sucker for Libby’s pumpkin. That’s the only brand I buy. Pumpkin is packed with Vitamin A and fiber. It’s so tasty! I love it.
The Coconut Cream
We try to be dairy free as much as possible. Coconut cream (the canned kind – like this one) worked so well in this recipe. Honestly, I don’t think you would be able to tell the difference in this dish between dairy cream and coconut cream. Also, if you are not able to find coconut cream, canned full-fat coconut milk will work too! Just be sure to get the full-fat one so the dish comes out creamy and rich. It is dessert after all.
I used Pyure (a combination of Erythritol and Stevia) for this recipe. Xylitol or any other sweetener will work just as well. Please be sure to check the conversion on other sweeteners. If it’s a one-to-one conversion with sugar, double the amount of sweetener listed in the recipe below. Pyure is a 2:1 ratio of Pyure:Sugar.
I LOVE fall spices. This recipe has cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. Swoon.
Panna Cotta for a Party
This recipe works well in large ramekins or tasting/shot glasses. Do you have a fall party lined up? Do you want to impress your guests with a mini fall dessert that will blow them away? This is the perfect recipe. It will be our little secret just how elegantly easy it was to make.
Once made, pour the panna cotta mixture in 2 oz shot glasses, and refrigerate until firm. Then line the shot glasses on a serving platter or surface with a few cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and pumpkin seeds. The cloves give off a wonderful clove fragrance reminiscent of fall. Serve alongside tasting spoons and napkins, and you’re all set!
Low Carb Pumpkin Coconut Cream Panna Cotta
This Panna Cotta is a silky smooth combination of lightly sweetened coconut cream and pumpkin. It's the perfect fall treat.
- 1 tbsp gelatin , (sub Bakol unflavored Jel for a vegan/vegetarian version)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree , canned unsweetened works fine (Libby)
- 1 can full fat coconut cream
- 1 cup almond milk , from the carton like Blue Diamond
- 1/4 cup Pyure , or other sweetener (note - Pyure is twice as sweet as sugar - check conversions)
- 2 tbsp cinnamon , ground
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg , ground
- 1/2 tsp ginger , ground (spice aisle)
- 1/4 tsp allspice , ground
- 1/4 tsp clove , ground
In a food processor, combine the pumpkin, coconut cream, almond milk, sweetener and spices.
Blend until smooth and combined. Leave in the food processor.
Bloom and Soften the Gelatin
Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over 1/4 cup of water in a very small saucepan or bowl. Let stand for 60 seconds.
Heat the gelatin gently over the stove, or in the microwave in 15 second intervals until the gelatin is dissolved.
Add the gelatin/water mixture to the food processor and blend for 10 seconds.
Divide the mixture evenly among ramekins or small glasses/shot glasses. Chill for four hours, or until firm and set.
To unmold, set the bowl/glass in warm water for 10 seconds. Invert the bowl/glass and gently shake the container until the panna cotta slips out. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds, a dash of cinnamon and toasted coconut.