pumpkin mousse parfaits

hello November!

So far November in New York has been, to put it kindly… a bitch. First, we welcomed the month with Hurricane Sandy aka Frankenstorm and then Athena the Nor’easter brought an onslaught of our first snow this year. I don’t mean it lightly when I say I feel incredibly grateful and lucky to have been safe and warm.

To anyone who still needs a warm place to stay or electricity or pumpkin parfaits… this is for you.

This dessert requires no baking and is super easy to put together. I was skeptical about the pumpkin-orange mousse but I think my final verdict is… I like it? I only added 1 teaspoon of orange zest instead of 2 and that was plenty. Next time, I may reduce the whipped cream to 1 cup as well for a more intense pumpkin-y flavor.

I think this is perfect for the Thanksgiving holidays. It’s a nice variation on pumpkin pie and feels deceptively light (despite the copious amounts of heavy cream. I’m so evil.). I took these adorable parfaits to my friend Emily’s party and they were quite popular. Make sure not to make them too big as these little things are richer than they appear.

{my favorite part}

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{cute tiger ginger cookies}

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{parfait assembly line}

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Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits
adapted from Barefoot Contessa

  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 packet (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 (15-ounce can) pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Sweetened whipped cream (recipe followed)
  • ½ cup crumbled ginger cookies

1)    Place the water in a heat-proof bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Set aside for 10 minutes for the gelatin to soften.
2)    In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg yolks, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
3)    Set the bowl of gelatin over a small pot of simmering water and cook until the gelatin is clear. Immediately whisk the hot gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture.
4)    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture.
5)    To assemble, spoon some of the pumpkin mixture into parfait glasses, add a layer of whipped cream, then some chopped cookies. Repeat, ending with a third layer of pumpkin.
6)    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. To serve, decorate with whipped cream and some more crumbles of ginger cookies.

Sweetened whipped cream

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1)    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until firm peaks form. Use to layer and decorate the parfaits.

Makes 8-10 servings

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