(Becky, the Mama.)
I went to visit my daughter Rachel in September, just as the days began to cool with the promise of Fall. Though, in Texas where she lives, this means the temperatures were in the low 90’s rather than over 100. .
Still, every Starbucks on our route from Denver to Oklahoma to Texas was advertising their famous Pumpkin Spice Lattes which always puts me in the mood anything made of pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon. I know that by January 1, I’ll be declaring, “I never want to see another pumpkin as long as I live,” because I will have overdone the nonstop parade of pumpkin lattes, breads, muffins, waffles, cookies and pies through the holidays.
But for now, I can’t seem to get enough of the plump orange gourds. I created this vegan pumpkin mousse pie for the Two Texas Rachels in my life (My daughter and my sister) with a crust of crushed gingersnaps and salted roasted almonds, a filling of whipped coconut cream, canned pumpkin and spices.
May I just say, ever so humbly, this may be my favorite of all pumpkin desserts? Ever.
I make an amazing traditional pumpkin pie, which I thought was the best pumpkin dessert in the universe, and I promise to share that recipe on this blog before Thanksgiving. But I like this pie even better. It needs to be served very cold, and when you do that, it slices like a dream – like chiffon mousse, like a cloud made of pumpkin.
I love it when a plan comes together. And I love it even more when I can create a recipe that people with special dietary needs can enjoy alongside everyone else. This recipe has no eggs or milk. If you use gluten-free cookies, your gluten-free guests can also dig in without worry.
Update from Thanksgiving 2013: Served this pie to a big family gathering. Off all the desserts on the table, this one disappeared first and was voted the best — and most of those in attendance were not vegan or on special diets.
Luscious Pumpkin Mousse Pie (Vegan)
1 16 oz. can chilled can of coconut milk, cream only (Thai Kitchen full fat ORGANIC brand always separates and works well for whipping. When I see it, usually at Whole Foods, I buy a few cans and keep them in the fridge. If in a hurry you can pop a can in the freezer for a couple of hours.) You want to have at least 2/3 cup of the cream (which will look like Crisco shortening when you remove it from the can), and more if there’s more in the can.
1 1/2 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin (canned or fresh)
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. ginger
¾ t. salt
¼ c. brown sugar (or coconut sugar) (more if you prefer it a bit sweeter, do a taste test)
2 T. maple syrup
16 Gingersnap cookies (or crumbs to equal 1 c.)
1 T. sugar
1/3 c. roasted whole almonds
3 T. Earth Balance butter (or regular butter if you aren’t vegan)
Whip the coconut cream in a mixer until light and smooth.
Add pumpkin, spices, brown sugar and maple syrup.
Microwave butter until melted in an 8 inch glass pie pan. (You can use a 9 inch pan but the pie will not be as thick.)
Put cookies, almonds and sugar in a blender or food processor and blend until they approximately as fine as graham cracker crumbs. Reserve 2 T. for garnish. Add cookie/almond mixture to melted butter in the pan, mixing with a fork until the crumb mixture is evenly moistened with butter. Using the back of a spoon, create a pie crust shell in the pan. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes or until firm. Let cool completely before filling.
Using a large spoon, gently spoon pumpkin-coconut mixture into the shell. Smooth the top. Sprinkle with bit more cinnamon. Swirl gently with a knife. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least two hours before cutting and serving.
Hint: This is best served the same day as it is made, as the crust is crunchiest then.
Optional Additional Garnish: ¼ c candied ginger, ground in blender to texture of course salt; 3 T. toasted pumpkin seeds
Variations: Rather than make a pie, you can make individual mousse desserts by alternating layers of pumpkin filling with crumbs and candied ginger bits.
Use chocolate or lemon cookies instead of gingersnap cookies if you prefer.
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