Want a simple, yet elegant fall dessert recipe? Like the flavors of pumpkin pie, but don’t have the time to make and bake a pie? Don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but want a pleasing pumpkin dessert for Thanksgiving? Want a dessert that you can pretty much make a head of time? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to check out this recipe! Using store bought puff pastry and canned pumpkin puree, the only hard part about this recipe is waiting the two hours it takes to chill the pumpkin mousse!
Pumpkin Mousse in Puff Pastry Shells
Adapted from a recipe by Chef Claudia Fleming, Gramercy Tavern
1 pkg. Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 cup canned, unsweetened pumpkin puree
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. plus 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided use
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of cloves
Whipped cream for garnish, optional
1. Bake puff pastry shells according to package directions. Cool. Remove centers.
2. Sprinkle gelatin over 1 tablespoon of water in a microwave-safe cup. Let stand 5 minutes to soften. Microwave on HIGH 10-15 seconds or just until dissolved.
3. Mix pumpkin, granulated and brown sugars, 2 tablespoons cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Heat to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in gelatin. Cool completely.
4. Beat remaining cream in a mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Fold into pumpkin mixture. Refrigerate until mixture is set, about 2 hours.
5. Spoon pumpkin mousse into pastry shells. Serve with fresh cranberry sauce, if desired.
The pumpkin mousse can be easily made ahead, but the pastry shells will taste better and have a flakier texture if baked the same day as serving.
Although, you could spoon the mousse into the pastry shells, I chose to pipe it in. Instead of using a pastry bag, I used a sandwich-sized, zip-type plastic bag. By cutting less than a half-inch off one of its corners, I was able to insert a coupler and a pastry tip into that corner of the bag. After filling the bag half full with the pumpkin mousse, I piped the mousse into the shells.
Instead of using fresh cranberry sauce as garnish, I whipped up a little extra whipping cream (adding a little powdered sugar while I was whipping it to sweeten the cream) and put a dollop of it on top of the mousse. I finished it off with a light sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Chopped candied ginger sprinkled on top of the cream would also be a nice finishing touch.
The next time I make this I will add a little orange zest to the pumpkin mousse mixture and perhaps add a little less nutmeg.