A light and creamy dessert with spiced caramel

Kitchen Cabinet: A Co Cork take on an Italian classic

Velvet Cloud sheep's milk yoghurt is a great product that I use in the restaurant throughout the year. All the milk is produced on Aisling and Michael Flanagan's family farm just outside of Claremorris in Co Mayo. Due to the mild and wet Co Mayo climate, the ewes can graze on an abundance of grass and clover pastures for almost the entire year. The fact that the ewes are grass-fed makes the product special. It's thicker and creamier than cow milk's yoghurt and has a milder taste, which makes it perfect for both sweet and savoury dishes.

Using pumpkin in a dessert may seem unusual, but pumpkin is very versatile and once cooked in the spiced caramel it takes on a lovely flavour. I use Greenfield's Crown Prince pumpkin. Derek Hannon is a local organic vegetable supplier I work with all year round, but any regular pumpkin will do the job just as well. Dan Guerin is head chef at Cush in Ballycotton, Co Cork

Velvet Cloud yoghurt pannacotta with Crown Prince pumpkin in a spiced caramel

Serves 6



For the pannacotta:
500g cream
100g milk
1 vanilla pod (scraped seeds and pods)
100g caster sugar
2½ leaves of gelatine
150g natural Velvet Cloud yoghurt

For the spiced caramel:
40g caster sugar
10g diced cold butter
30ml very lightly whipped cream
1 cinnamon stick
1tsp ginger
1 star anise
5 cardamom pods

For the gingerbread:
50g butter diced
2 tsp golden/maple syrup
50g dark muscovado sugar
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
110g plain flour
25g icing sugar
250g pumpkin


For the pannacotta:
1 Soak the gelatine in cold water before starting. Bring the cream, milk, and vanilla to the boil. Add the sugar and squeezed gelatine. Whisk well until combined. Leave to cool to between 40 and 50 degrees (use a probe to check the temperature), or until cool enough to dip a finger in, then add the yoghurt. Portion 140g per person into whatever vessel you have available such as a glass, cup, or bowl. Set in the fridge overnight.

For the caramel:
2 Caramelize the sugar and spices very slowly in a heavy based pan until the sugar has melted and taken on a nice golden colour. Add the diced cold butter and dissolve, then add the cream, a little at a time. Set aside in a warm place.

For the gingerbread crumble:
3 Heat the butter, syrup, and sugar together in a small pan until melted. Set aside to cool slightly. Mix the soda, ginger, cinnamon, and flour in a separate mixing bowl. Pour in the syrup and mix with your hands. When a dough forms, transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and chill in the fridge for one hour. Bake at 180 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let it cool on a wire rack before assembling the dessert.

For the pumpkin:
4 Dice the pumpkin into an even dice. Add to the caramel with 50ml of water and simmer gently until the pumpkin is cooked. Once the pumpkin is cooked, cool to room temperature.

5 To serve: Dress the pannacotta with pumpkin, some of the caramel and pieces of the gingerbread crumble.

Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes for Food Month at The Irish Times from chefs who are members of Euro-Toques Ireland, in support of Ireland’s food producers. #ChefsMeetProducers