Our part 2 pumpkin post is focusing on sweet pumpkin dessert recipes and ideas. Pumpkin Pie has been a Thanksgiving staple since the early 19th century. Pumpkins have become a symbol for fall and the traditional spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves have inspired seasonal products ranging from the classic Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte to beer. Ice Cream, cheesecake, pancakes, candy, and cakes can be found everywhere. Pumpkin desserts are a perfect way to enjoy this vegetable.
While canned pumpkin is easy to use, I recommend taking the extra time to make your own pumpkin puree. Our Mmmmmm ….. Pumpkins ~ Part 1 has a very simple method. If you opt for canned, avoid the pumpkin pie filling. It has already added the spices and has a slightly artificial taste. Our Part 1 also has a basic recipe for pumpkin pie spice. Play around with the spice blend to find your favorite. Both will be used in the recipe below.
My friends are well aware of my pumpkin obsession. I could fill a book with my favorite recipes. Pumpkin Pie can be altered and tweaked dozens of ways to update the classic (which is still amazing!) Martha Stewart has several that I love including Deep Dish Pumpkin-Meringue Pie, Brûléed Pumpkin Pie, Mile-High Pumpkin-Pecan Pie, Icebox Pumpkin-Mousse Pie, Heirloom-Squash and Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Cream Pie, Maple-Pumpkin Tart, Pumpkin Pie with Chipotle, and Triple-Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.
all pie images from the Martha Stewart
OK, maybe I went a bit overboard…but, I love them all! For myself, I am going to focus on the recipe for pumpkin mousse. This is a great way to step outside the standard pie mold yet still capture the traditional feel.
Pumpkin Mousse Recipe
1 packet unflavored gelatin (2½ tsp) ¼ c. dark rum (may substitute Cognac, Calvados, Grand Marnier, or water) 2c. pumpkin puree 1c. sugar 2 egg yolks 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 1½ tsp vanilla extract ½ tsp salt 2c. heavy cream
Sprinkle the gelatin over the rum in a small heatproof cup, and allow it to soften for 5 minutes.
While the gelatin softens, combine the pumpkin, sugar, yolks, spices, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Set the cup of gelatin in a pan of gently simmering water and stir the gelatin until it has dissolved.
While the gelatin is still hot, whisk into the pumpkin mixture.
Whip the cream to soft peaks.
Carefully fold it into the pumpkin mixture.
Fill (8) 6oz. ramekins or a large glass bowl. (it’s beautiful piped into wine glasses)
Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
This versatile dessert can be served in many ways. You can eat it by itself, but I like to serve it as a trifle. Trifles are layers desserts with 3 main components – a cake or cookie layer that I like to splash with a liqueur, a mousse and/or whipped cream layer, and a highlight flavor, usually a sauce or fruit that should be strong enough to be tasted but not overwhelming. I make tons of trifle desserts for casual to formal events. A great resource for developing combinations is the Flavor Bible. For pumpkin mousse, I like one of these options:
Chocolate Cookies or Brownie, Cognac, Salted Caramel
Gingersnaps or Gingerbread, Calvados, Apple Butter
Amaretti Cookies or Pound Cake, Amaretto, Maple Syrup
Trifles can be served and presented in various dishes. Make sure to pick a glass dish to clearly see the layers. While it is easiest to make a single, large trifle, they will look massy and muddled as soon as they are served. I make individual servings in classic dessert dishes, champagne flutes, wine glasses, and mason jars. I love using mason jars since they pack and travel easily. For a professional look, make sure to keep the layers very clean and defined. It can be helpful to use a piping bag to avoid smears or splatters.