This light, silky panna cotta tastes a lot like hot cocoa in custard form. The brittle is easy to make; heat sugar and water on the stove, swirl in butter and spiced pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), then let cool.
- 2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
- 2 3/4 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- Vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup salted roasted pepitas
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
In a small bowl, sprinkle the powdered gelatin over 1/4 cup of the milk and let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt and bring just to a simmer over moderately heat. Remove the milk from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin until dissolved.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the chopped chocolate at high power in 10-second intervals. Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture until creamy. Strain the panna cotta mixture through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup.
Lightly brush six 1/2-cup ramekins with oil and set them on a baking sheet. Carefully fill the ramekins with the panna cotta mixture and refrigerate them for about 2 hours, until the panna cottas are firm.
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or lightly oiled parchment paper. In a small bowl, toss the pepitas with the cinnamon and nutmeg. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar with 1/3 cup of water and cook over high heat, swirling the pan gently, until a medium amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter and spiced pepitas. Pour the brittle onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it in a very thin layer. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes, then crack it into shards.
Run a knife around the panna cottas and invert onto plates. Garnish with the pepita shards and serve.
A dash of cayenne is a nice addition if you desire a little heat. Recipe from Food and Wine