Earlier this week I mentioned how my folks and I went pumpkin picking. The same day I delivered a few apples and a perfectly round pumpkin to my grandma’s house. All those fall goodies totally made her day! Grandparents are so cool. Anyway, we were talking about food and ended up on the topic of pumpkin desserts. Looking at the pumpkin on the counter, my grandma casually said that after Halloween she might cook it. That got me thinking…why don’t I cook my pumpkins too? Seriously…who needs decorations when you have a full belly? Before you become alarmed, yes, you are able to cook with pumpkins from a pumpkin patch. It’s a vegetable! A few varieties grow in most pumpkin patches, so ask one of the workers for guidance and/or suggestions. Also ask if any harmful pesticides were used (I tend to avoid produced that was doused in chemicals). Now that I got that fun disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk about pumpkin recipes! The first…a pumpkin mousse parfait.
A parfait is a layered dessert that usually has a mix of textures. The word “parfait” means “perfect” in French, and lemme tell you, this dessert is definitely paaaarfait! It’s smooth, super creamy, and totally festive. Think of it as a light, healthy, and spreadable pumpkin pie in a glass. It starts off with roasted pumpkin before getting blended with spices until silky smooth (you can steam the pumpkin too, but I prefer the subtle roasted flavor a bit more). After it’s cooled, fold some freshly whipped cream into the pumpkin puree and wah-lay, you just made a mousse. When folding the two together, go slow and be gentle…you don’t want to deflate all those air bubbles. Plop some of this mixture into a glass and top with extra whipped cream. Then sprinkle on a bit of cookie and nut crumble. This crunchy layer is filled with cookies, walnuts, and sugar. Delicious, right? It provides just the right amount of crunch to balance the soft mousse and fluffy whipped cream too.
Feel free to add as many layers as your glass/serving dish allows. Personally, I prefer mini parfaits with just one or two layers of each ingredient, but go crazy if your heart so desires. These parfaits aren’t weighed down with a bucket of sugar, so feel free to enjoy this for breakfast as well.
Have a great weekend guys! :)
**This recipe is a little involved…but only because I made everything from scratch. Feel free to cut some of the time off by purchasing canned pumpkin puree. If you do that, all you will need to do is fold in the whipped cream and spices. Or if you’re crazy like me, spend some time in the kitchen! :D**
2 lbs 10 oz pumpkin (1 small, fresh pumpkin)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tablespoons sugar (light brown or granulated)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 tablespoons butter (melted)
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)
3/4 cup cookie crumbs (ginger snaps, Stella Dora, vanilla wafers, etc)
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pumpkin Mousse: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut pumpkin into slices. Completely remove membrane and seeds. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from oven and cool. Scoop flesh away from skin. Add the pumpkin to a large pot with the evaporated milk, maple syrup, and sugar. Using an immersion blender, blend until silky smooth. Stir in the ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (if using). Simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Cool completely. Fold 1 and 3/4 cups of the cooled pumpkin puree with half of the whipped cream (directions below).
Cookie/Nut Crumble: In a medium bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, chopped walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix in melted butter. Bake on a cookie sheet for 5-8 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool.
Whipped Cream: In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
Assembly: Take a glass and add some cookie crumbs at the bottom. Add a layer of pumpkin mousse and whipped cream. Top with more cookie crumbs. Repeat, if desired. Serve immediately or chill (up to overnight before eating). Enjoy!