Pumpkins and peanut butter combine in this easy, dreamy dessert that celebrates the best of fall. Panna cotta, a thick custard that’s firm enough to mold (like a creamy Jello) is traditionally made with gelatin. Our vegetarian version uses agar agar, a natural gelling agent made from seaweed.
1. Combine pumpkin puree, peanut butter, coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove in a blender. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and with the tip of a sharp knife, scoop seeds into the blender. Reserve the vanilla pod. Puree until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more honey or spices, if needed.
2. Pour the mixture into a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Whisk in agar agar powder until well blended. Add reserved vanilla pod. Bring to a high simmer and cook for 7 minutes, maintaining a lively simmer, but not allowing the mixture to boil, and stirring frequently. Mixture should be very thick and creamy.
3. Pour panna cotta mixture into four rounded dessert cups or ramekins, and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until very firm. To serve, dip each dessert cup of ramekin into a bowl of hot water, being careful not to get water in the panna cotta, then run a butter knife around the edge of each ramekin, and invert on a small dessert plate. Top with whipped cream or chocolate sauce, if desired, and serve.
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