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This Panna Cotta With a Twist Is Peak Fall

published Oct 15, 2019
Spiced Pumpkin Panna Cotta
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Credit: Sugar In the Raw®

The beauty of panna cotta is in its simplicity. Gelatin sets cream and sugar (no baking involved!) into a silky-smooth dessert that you can top with whatever you want. When peak pumpkin season hits, channel those flavors into a spiced pumpkin panna cotta base, and take things up a notch by finishing with a buttery caramel drizzle and some crunch from toasted pecans.

The Best Way to Use Gelatin

Gelatin, not eggs, is what helps panna cotta thicken and set, but you can’t just whisk it into the base or it’ll clump up. Let it hydrate in some water first before dissolving it into a mixture of hot cream, pumpkin purée, Sugar In The Raw®, and fall spices. Once the base is made, pour it into individual cups or ramekins before chilling.

Cooking Caramel Sauce

While the panna cotta are chilling, use the time to make a caramel sauce. The caramel starts by simmering more Sugar In The Raw® and water together until the water evaporates and the sugar caramelizes into a dark amber color. Sugar In The Raw®, with its rich flavor and dark color, melts and caramelizes just like white sugar so you can bake and cook with it in the same way.

While making caramel isn’t hard, you do need to be careful when working with hot sugar. Use a large, light-colored saucepan because the caramel can bubble up when you add the cream and butter. The light colored pan will also help you keep an eye on how dark the caramel is getting. When finished, cool the caramel before using it and store any extras in the refrigerator. To serve, crown your panna cotta in caramel and pecans so every bite is just as sweet and crunchy as the last.

Spiced Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


For the panna cotta:

  • 1 envelope

    unflavored powdered gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 3 tablespoons

    cool water

  • 1 1/2 cups

    heavy cream

  • 1 cup

    unsweetened pumpkin purée

  • 1/2 cup

    Sugar In The Raw®

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

For the caramel and topping:

  • 1 cup

    Sugar In The Raw®

  • 1/3 cup


  • 4 tablespoons

    butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1/2 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    fine sea salt

  • 1/2 cup


  • 1/2 cup

    chopped, toasted pecans


Make the panna cotta:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and water. Let sit for 5 minutes.

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring just to a simmer, take off the heat, and whisk in the vanilla and gelatin until fully dissolved.

  3. Divide the panna cotta mixture between 6 small cups or glasses, using 1/2 cup mixture per serving. Cover and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Make the caramel:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water and stir constantly over medium-low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the syrup is a very dark, amber color.

  2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, cream, and salt (careful, it may bubble up!), and stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

  3. Serve the panna cotta topped with the caramel and sprinkled with the pecans. Cover and refrigerate any leftover caramel.