Chocolate Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle. This make ahead dessert is rich, creamy and full of chocolate flavor. The pumpkin brittle is so easy and so delicious, make extra just for snacking! Milk, sugar, bittersweet chocolate, toasted pumpkin seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon and butter!
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Make Ahead Desserts
I love make ahead desserts. By the time we are done eating dinner and I get up from the table and go get our dessert, it's almost like someone else made it for me.
They are also great around the holidays or whenever you have company.
This Chocolate Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle is one of my favorite make ahead desserts. The panna cotta needs to set for at least 2 hours, so either make it early in the day, or even better make it the day before.
Make the Pumpkin Seed Brittle
I have a confession. When I first saw this recipe at Food & Wine, I was just going to skip the Pumpkin Seed Brittle and make the chocolate panna cotta. I've made plenty of panna cotta's without brittle and didn't think I would miss it.
But then I decided to just go for it. Not be lazy. This was the first brittle I have ever made, and I can safely say it will not be my last. It was the perfect accompaniment to this panna cotta. The panna cotta was all rich and creamy and then you take a bite of sticky crunchy brittle - perfect!
The pumpkin seed brittle is also so good on it's own.
How to Make Panna Cotta
Panna Cottas are so easy to make. You used powdered gelatin and sprinkle it over some of the milk. While it is hydrating, you heat the rest of the milk and some sugar in a saucepan to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the gelatin. Melt the chocolate in a microwave and stir into the panna cotta mixture. Strain into a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring.
Pour into six 1/2 cup jars or ramekins (I used small mason jars with a lid) that you have brushed with oil. Set them on a sheet pan and refrigerate for at least two hours! That's it, you've made panna cotta!
How to Make Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Who knew making brittle was so easy?!
Line a baking sheet with oiled parchment paper or a silicone mat. Cook the sugar and the water in a saucepan over high heat until you get a medium amber color (about 6 minutes.) While that is cooking, toss the pumpkin seeds with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the pumpkin seeds and the butter.
Pour the brittle into the baking sheet and let cool completely. Then break into shards and store in an air tight container.
Looking for more panna cotta recipes:
If you are reading this near the holidays, you need to try this Holiday Nog Panna Cotta!!
Nutella fan? Then you'll love this Nutella Panna Cotta with Candied Hazelnuts!
Everyone loves this Vanilla Yogurt Panna Cotta with Candied Walnuts!
Chocolate Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle
- Pour 1/4 cup of the milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the top and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Combine the remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer of medium high heat.
- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate at high power in 10 second intervals. Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture until creamy.
- Strain the panna cotta into a large measuring cup with a spout.
- Brush six 1/2 cup jars or ramekins lightly with oil. Pour the panna cotta mixture into each jar. Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until panna cotta is set.
- To make the pumpkin brittle, line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or lightly oiled parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with the cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar with 1/3 cup of water. Cook over high heat, swirling (don't stir) the pan gently, until it gets a medium amber color (about 6 minutes.)
- Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter and the pumpkin seeds.
- Pour into the baking sheet and spread into a thin layer. Let cool completely - about 20 minutes. Break into shards and store in an air tight container.
- To serve, run a knife around the panna cotta and invert into a plate (or just serve in the jars or ramekins) and serve with the pumpkin seed brittle.
Update Notes: This was originally published in 2014 and has been updated for 2018.