This is my seasonal obligatory pumpkin creation. Please don’t get me wrong, lest this sound like a task I begrudgingly embark on, nothing could be further from reality. This is a yearly right of passage into fall that I happily embrace for I adore pumpkin desserts. This year’s inspiration however, bypassed the oven and ended squarely in mousse territory, and this Spiced Pumpkin Caramel Mousse is not only all kinds of pumpkiny goodness, but it’s also quite simple to make.
1 cup (237 grams) packed brown sugar
¼ cup (59 ml) maple syrup
1 can (425 grams/15 ounce) pure pumpkin purée
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ¾ cup (651 ml) heavy cream, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
How To Use Them:
I first make a caramel, then add the pumpkin. The reason is two-fold: 1) cooking the brown sugar and maple syrup first allows for caramelization which deepens and intensifies that flavor, 2) it ensures that the texture is smooth and not grainy, and 3) accounting for a little more than you need means you have this beautiful caramel to drizzle over the top of your mousse without added work. The same holds true for the whipped cream. You make more than you need so that you may reserve some to top your mousse with.
In a medium pot add the brown sugar and maple syrup. Heat the mixture over medium heat until the mixture is liquefied and the sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Make sure you stir frequently to avoid burning the sugar.Reserve 1/4 cup caramel.Stir in the pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice, salt and ½ cup of heavy cream to the sugar mixture. Simmer the pumpkin mixture for another 4 minutes, stirring frequently. This is an important step in the process as cooking the pumpkin eliminates that metallic taste you often get with canned pumpkin, and allows the spices to bloom and become more fragrant with the addition of the heat.Empty the pumpkin mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool, and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.When the pumpkin mixture has thoroughly chilled, whip the remaining 2 ¼ cup whipping cream. Pour the cream into a mixing bowl and whisk on low for one minute and then gradually begin to increase the speed to medium high. Whisk on medium high until just stiffened. Please STOP whipping when you get to this point, or you will soon have some delicious homemade butter on your hands!Reserve 1 cup of the whipped cream for topping the mousse.Gently fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture. Fold in until the pumpkin is just incorporated,…and until you no longer see streaks of whipped cream.Pipe or spoon the pumpkin mousse into dessert dishes.Once you have piped all of the pumpkin mousse,then top each serving with the reserved whipped cream.Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, drizzle the reserved caramel on top of the whipped cream. Crown the caramel with a sprinkle of cinnamon……and serve with some chopped gingersnaps and for a little crunch and a bit more fall flavor. You can never have too much fall!