Indian Corn Panna CottaI want to Jump to recipe.

Panna Cotta. Cream lightly sweetened and flavored then stabilized with gelatin for a softly spoonable, and even unmoldable, delicate creamy treat.

If you like puddings but think  that egg sometimes muddies flavors (which it does, but usually in a good way), you will love panna cotta. Think of dairy as the flavor carrier, here. Steep your cream with all sorts of goodness—herbs, coffee beans, spices—or mix in other goodies—chocolate, fruit puree, spirits or liqueurs, extracts.

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Indian Corn Panna CottaPanna cotta is the Pretty Woman of desserts. It’s whoever you want it to be.

I’ve written a couple of panna cotta posts. First, a basic formula with ideas for all sorts of variations. Then, I got all swanky and went with a Pumpkin Chai Panna Cotta for a cooking  contest. Alas, I did not win, but I now have that killer panna cotta in my arsenal. So, I consider it a personal win.

Indian Corn Panna CottaInitially, I was going to make a chocolate pumpkin panna cotta and be done with it, but I was talking with my friends Jamie and Cheryl yesterday, and somehow we decided that a layered panna cotta would be lovely. The flavors were a given: I’d just make chocolate and pumpkin, but why not make a third layer? Dulce de leche is gorgeous on its own, but it also makes a lovely supporting player for more assertive flavors, so I used dulce in the base, leaving one third plain and then melting chocolate into one third and whisking pumpkin puree and cinnamon into the last. Using the same flavor (in this case, vanilla and dulce de leche) in all three layers also helps to unify the flavors so while they each taste different, they harmonize well.

The main considerations here are getting a more-or-less consistent texture across all three layers so that only the flavor changes and not the mouthfeel. I didn’t want one boingy  layer and two super soft layers. At the same time, I didn’t want to have to come up with three wildly different formulas for each layer. I’ve come up with a reasonably straightforward way to get a consistent texture without dirtying up too many pots. Even so, the kitchen was a wreck when I was finished.

Indian Corn Panna CottaThe resulting goodness is more than worth it, I think.

And why Indian Corn Panna Cotta? Because Indian Corn (candy corn’s chocolate cousin) is brown, orange and white. And there you have it.

Do give this a try, and feel free to make all one flavor rather than futzing about with all three. In case you like to keep things simple.

Stay tuned after the recipe for some other decadent panna cotta recipes from around the blogosphere.

Chocolate Pumpkin de Leche Panna Cotta (Indian Corn Panna Cotta)

Jennifer Field
Layers of dark chocolate, mildly spiced pumpkin and sweet dulce de leche panna cotta. Such a treat! Make sure you have a lot of bowls ready. You will need them. And a large bowl full of ice and water to use as an ice bath. Chilling down the creams quickly will get you out of the kitchen a lot faster, and it's also the key to making a really creamy panna cotta.
4.67 from 3 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Custard and Pudding Recipes
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 -10
Calories 274 kcal


For the Basic Panna Cotta

  • 2 ½ teaspoons plain powdered gelatin
  • 2 oz whole milk
  • 18 oz whole milk
  • 6 oz dulce de leche
  • 2 Tablespoons demerara sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw) you can also use plain granulated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 oz heavy cream (divided use)

For the Chocolate Layer

  • 2 ½ oz very finely grated (I used a microplane) dark chocolate (either semisweet or bittersweet will work)
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1 Tablespoon whole milk (or cold water)

For the Pumpkin Layer

  • 4 oz pumpkin puree (canned or homemade, not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1 Tablespoon whole milk (or cold water)

For the Dulce de Leche Layer

  • slightly rounded 1/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1 Tablespoon whole milk (or cold water)


Mise en Place--Very Important for this so you don't get cranky.

  • Get your scale ready. Everything here is done by weight. If you don't have a scale, I understand. I'll try to give some volume measures to make your life easier.
  • Aside from a medium saucepan, it makes life easier if you have at least 2 small pans as well. You might not need them, but just in case...
  • Have ready a fine mesh strainer and 2 whisks, if you have 2. Or three, if you have 3.
  • In 1 small cup or glass, bloom scant 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin in 1 Tablespoon whole milk or water. Set it next next to a medium bowl with the shaved chocolate in it.
  • In another small cup or glass, bloom 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin in 1 Tablespoon whole milk or water. Set it next to a medium bowl containing the pumpkin puree and cinnamon.
  • In yet another small cup or glass, bloom a slightly rounded 1/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin in 1 Tablespoon whole milk or water. Set it next to a medium bowl that contains nothing at all.
  • In yet another bowl, whip the 10 oz heavy cream until thickened and the whisk leaves tracks in the cream. It does not need to come to even soft peaks. You are just looking for Very Thick Cream here.
  • Set up your ice bath. Fill a large bowl (large enough to set the other bowls down in it with plenty of room to spare) with ice and water.
  • Get out your serving bowls or cups. The entire recipe makes about 43 oz of panna cotta, and you want your servings to be between 4-6 oz apiece. If you are going to unmold them, spray your cups lightly with some pan spray.
  • Put the cups on a tray and make sure there is room for them in the coldest part of your fridge.

For the Basic Panna Cotta

  • Bloom the 2 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin in the 2 oz of whole milk. Set aside for about five minutes.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the 18 oz of whole milk along with the dulce de leche, sugar, vanilla and salt until hot and steaming but not boiling.
  • Add the reserved 2 1/2 teaspoons of bloomed gelatin, and whisk until melted.

For the Layers

  • Strain 1/3 of this base mixture (about 9 oz or just over a cup) along with the scant 1/2 teaspoon of bloomed gelatin into the bowl of finely shaved chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate and gelatin are completely dissolved. If things seem a bit lumpy or grainy, pour the entire chocolate mixture into one of the small saucepans and whisk over medium heat until everything is all lovely and smooth. Re-strain and set aside.
  • Strain another 1/3 of the base mixture (about 9 oz or just over a cup) along with the 1/2 teaspoon of bloomed gelatin into the bowl of pumpkin puree and cinnamon.
  • Whisk until everything is well combined and the gelatin has completely dissolved.
  • If not smooth, heat over medium heat until all the gelatin has melted.
  • Re-strain and set aside.
  • Strain the remaining third of the base mixture into the last bowl along with the slightly rounded 1/4 teaspoon bloomed gelatin.
  • Whisk until all the gelatin has dissolved. (You shouldn't have to reheat this batch at all, and if you have to, don't worry about re-straining it).
  • Now you have three bowls of proto-panna cotta and an ice bath. The next step is to thicken up the mixtures, one at a time, and then fold in some of the reserved whipped cream.
  • Stir the chocolate panna cotta in the ice bath until it reaches about 65F/18C.
  • Fold 1/3 of your softly whipped cream (3.3 oz or 1/2 cup) into the chocolate mixture and continue to fold/stir in the ice bath until the temperature reaches 50F/10C. At this point, the mixture will be thick and will very softly mound.
  • Pour an even layer in each of your serving containers and set the tray in the fridge. You may need to shake the cups a bit to get the layer to smooth out.
  • Repeat the same procedure with the pumpkin mixture, bringing the temperature down to 65F/18C before folding in 3.3 oz/ 1/2 cup of the cream and bringing it down to 50F/10C.
  • Retrieve the serving cups from the fridge and pour in an even layer of the pumpkin mixture, shaking the cups to level if necessary.
  • Return to the fridge and then finish up the whole extravaganza by repeating the process for a third and final time with the dulce de leche layer.
  • Chill for at least an hour before serving. If you are planning on turning them out onto serving plates, chill for at least three hours.
  • To unmold, run a thin knife around the inside of your mold and then dunk the bottom of the mold into hot water for about 30 seconds.
  • Put a plate over the top of the mold and then turn the two over and shake a few times to get the panna cotta to release onto the plate.
  • Serve with some softly whipped cream. You probably won't even need to sweeten it. Other options include shaved chocolate, candied pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or even some boozy caramel sauce.

Did You Make Any Changes?


If you are planning to unmold your panna cotta, you might want to pour the layers in reverse order so the chocolate is on the bottom. I didn't and nothing bad happened; I'm just putting it out there for you.
Also, if you only have one strainer and don't want to rinse it in between layers, that's another good reason to go dulce-pumpkin-chocolate rather than the other way around.


Serving: 1gCalories: 274kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 6gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 211mgFiber: 1gSugar: 18g
Keyword layered panna cotta, panna cotta, pumpkin panna cotta
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

While this particular panna cotta might seem like a lot of work, it’s visually striking and is certainly delicious.

Indian Corn Panna Cotta
The sauce is equal parts rum, cream and dulce seasoned with a pinch of salt and a wee bit of cinnamon. Dang. (And thanks Alessio for the inspiration)!

If this isn’t your cup of tea, please check out some of these other lovely panna cotta recipes from around the Hinternets.

If you’ve never had panna cotta, I urge you to give it a go. It’s so easy to make and so open to variation that it just might become your Little Black Dress of the dessert world.

Enjoy. Thank you for spending some time here with me, and have a wonderful day.


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  1. This is absolutely delightful, Jenni! Triple flavor combo and gorgeous to boot! LOVE at first sight..and bite!

  2. Ooooh I love this and will so be trying it! Fabulous! And that flavor combo is really excellent. This would make the best Thanksgiving dessert…forget plain ole pumpkin pie! Perfect, Jenni, just perfect! And so glad you shared the recipe and showed how to make one base and turn it into 3 flavors.

  3. Jenni this could not be any cuter or more seasonal! What a clever idea to have a layered panna cotta. I also love that you went for a more earthy Indian corn rather than the obvious Candy Corn. Very creative! Thanks much for including my Key Lime ‘P.C.’ too.

4.67 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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