You don’t have to have pumpkin pie for the holidays. There are numerous ways to enjoy pumpkin! Here is a pumpkin mousse that is both gluten-free and refined-sugar-free… but I like to eat it with gingersnaps!
Creamy Pumpkin Mousse with Maple Whipped Cream
- Hand Mixer
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 6 Tbsp real maple syrup, divided
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened, cubed
- 2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp real vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup half and half
- 12 pecan halves
- Cinnamon, for dusting
- 12 Gingersnap cookies
- In a large bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer until it doubles in size.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of the maple syrup and continue beating until light and fluffy. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- In another large bowl, beat the pumpkin purée, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, half&half, and remaining maple syrup with a hand mixer until thoroughly blended.
- Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired, and transfer to individual dessert bowls. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.
- To serve, remove from refrigerator and top with maple whipped cream, pecans, gingersnaps, and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, as desired.
There are several ways you can customize this pumpkin mousse to be your own. But first, some notes about the ingredients.
- Maple Syrup: Don’t use imitation maple syrup. It doesn’t have the complexity of flavor to do this dessert justice.
- Pumpkin purée: You can either use canned (I recommend Libby’s), but you can also make your own (recipe below).
- Pumpkin pie spice: You can purchase pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice or make your own (recipe below). The beauty of making your own is that you can play with the flavor profile by changing the ratios of the various ingredients.
- Ginger Snap cookies: Store-purchased or home-made work equally well.
And now for customization ideas:
- Don’t like maple syrup? Try making cinnamon whipped cream or just plain whipped cream.
- Turn this into another type of mousse. Substitute yam or butternut squash purée for the pumpkin purée. If you want to get really creative, you could experiment with kidney bean purée, carrot purée, or even beet purée for a shocking color change.
- Change out the cheese. You can use any type of soft, firm cheese for this recipe. Perhaps goat cheese would work? Or even a vegan cream cheese.
- Try a different spice mix. You can play around with the flavor profile of your pumpkin pie spice using the recipe below as your starting point, or even experiment with other spices such as cardamom, anise, or culinary lavender.
- You can also experiment with the extract. You don’t have to use vanilla all the time. There are plenty of other extracts that might go well, such as lemon, maple, or cinnamon.
How to make pumpkin purée
Making your own pumpkin purée gives your recipes, such as this Pumpkin Mousse, a fresher flavor.
- 1 4-pound pumpkin
- 1/3 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a roasting pan.
- Using a large knife, remove the stem and cut the pumpkin into quarters.
- Scoop out the stringy fibers and seeds.
- Cut quarters into 2- to 3-inch pieces.
- Place the pumpkin pieces into the prepared roasting pan skin side down.
- Add water and cover lightly with aluminum foil.
- Bake until tender, about 1 1/4 hours.
- Uncover and cool.
- Remove pumpkin skin and purée the pumpkin in a food processor. Make sure it doesn’t have any chunks. You want it to be silky smooth for a recipe like Pumpkin Mousse.
- Place the pumpkin purée in a cheesecloth-lined wire sieve set over a bowl. Fold up the edges of the cheesecloth to cover the purée. Place a saucer on the purée and weigh it down with a 1 pound can to force out the excess liquid.
- Let stand until the purée is the consistency of canned pumpkin, about 1 hour.
- The pumpkin purée can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
How to make pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice or cloves
- In a ramekin or very small bowl, combine the ingredients.
- This mixture makes one teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.
- If you want to have pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can scale the recipe up by multiplying each ingredient’s amount by 4. Store in an airtight container.