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Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle. Photo © Con Poulos
© Con Poulos

Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 6 servings
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

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.

  1. 2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  2. 2 3/4 cups whole milk
  3. 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  6. Vegetable oil
  7. 3/4 cup salted roasted pepitas
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  9. 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  10. 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Run a knife around the panna cottas and invert onto plates. Garnish with the pepita shards and serve.
Make Ahead The panna cottas can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. The pepita brittle can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.