This caramel pumpkin mousse is light, flavorful, and the perfect pumpkin dessert after your Thanksgiving feast.
Individual desserts are nice to serve after a large meal, and this pumpkin mousse recipe fits the bill. Just place them in front of your guests and let them dig in. No slicing. No cutting. And no need to share!
If you’d like even more pumpkin at your Thanksgiving table, try my soft pumpkin dinner rolls, too.
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Caramel Pumpkin Mousse
I think I might create recipes backwards. Most folks will make something and then figure out what to call it. I tend to come up with a name and then figure out how to make it!
The Beloved helped me come up with this name: Caramel Pumpkin Mousse with Cocoa Nib Streusel. Yum!
The figuring out how part was actually pretty easy, and you get to benefit from my playing in the kitchen, because this mousse is super excellent and creamy and delicious!
What Is Mousse?
Mousse is the French word for foam, so a mousse is any food–sweet or savory–that is smooth, creamy and filled with tiny, tiny air bubbles, usually from folding in whipped cream and/or meringue.
The most classic flavor of dessert mousse is probably chocolate mousse or mousse au chocolat, but mousse can be made in almost any flavor. Here’s how:
- Decide on your flavor and incorporate it into a rich base.
- Fold in whipped cream and/or a cooked meringue (to be food safe–either Swiss or Italian meringue). (Classic French mousse usually also contains yolks. If you are concerned about egg safety, use Pasteurized eggs.)
- Chill and enjoy.
How to Make Caramel Pumpkin Mousse
This pumpkin mousse is not hard to make. Here’s the game plan, step by step:
- Caramelize the sugar.
- Make the base and chill.
- Whip the cream and fold it into the pumpkin mixture.
- Garnish and serve!
- The pumpkin flavor shines through, and you also get just a hint of caramelized bitterness which keeps the dish from being too sweet.
This pumpkin mousse is flavored with traditional pumpkin spice, so it’s familiar yet a bit sophisticated. Plus, it’s really easy to make.
Do I Have to Make Caramel Pumpkin Mousse?
Nope. You can just make regular pumpkin mousse.
If you’re not sure of your caramelizing skills, it will still be delicious.
Just heat the first amount of cream with the sugar (you may want to use a bit less than called for since caramelized sugar is less sweet than regular sugar) to dissolve it, and you’re in business!
How Do I Turn This Into Pumpkin Mousse Pie?
Easy! Turn pumpkin mousse into pumpkin mousse pie filling by stabilizing the mixture one of two ways.
- Replace half the whipped cream with full fat cream cheese, softened. (6 oz or 3/4 block of cream cheese for 6 oz or 3/4 cup of cream)
- Mix some of the cream into the cream cheese to loosen it up, whip the rest of the cream and then fold it in with the cream cheese.
- Pour the mixture into a pie shell, smooth the top, and chill.
- The added structure from the cream cheese will firm up the texture of the mousse enough so that you’ll be able to slice it.
- Dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin in 2 oz of your heavy cream (the second amount).
- Once the gelatin has bloomed, heat the cream/gelatin mixture gently until it no longer feels gritty.
- When you are whipping your cream to fold into your mousse, drizzle the “gelatin cream” into the rest of the cream as you’re whipping, making sure to completely incorporate it.
- Fold into your pumpkin base, pour into a pie shell, smooth the top, and chill.
Tools You’ll Need to Make Mousse
Mousse is not hard to make, but there is some equipment that can make your mousse making life easier. Whether you use a hand mixer or a stand mixer, not having to whip all the cream by hand can be a real time (and arm) saver.
Want Some Other Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas?
Thanksgiving is my favorite food holiday, so I have quite a few Thanksgiving desserts on the site. Here are some to get you started:
- Pumpkin Caramel Latte Flan
- Roasted Corn Cheesecake with Cranberry-Blueberry Compote
- Cinnamon Sorghum Custard Pie
- Spiced Apple Cake with Pecans and Dulce de Leche
- Maple Pumpkin Pudding with Maple Spiced Pecans
Please note I weigh almost all my ingredients, even liquids, so my measurements are by weight and not volume. I try to give you volume equivalents when I can, but for consistency and accuracy, I really do recommend you purchase and use a kitchen scale.
This Escali Primo is the scale I have been using for 15 years and highly recommend.
If you make this wonderful pumpkin mousse recipe, and I really hope you do, please consider rating and/or leaving a comment. I love to hear from readers. Thank you!
For the Mousse
- 7 oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) water
- 8 oz heavy cream, (about 1 cup)
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin, (not pie filling)
- 1 Tablespoon sorghum syrup, , Lyle's Golden Syrup, mild molasses or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- several gratings of fresh nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 oz (1 1/2 cup) heavy cream
For the Streusel (can easily be doubled if you want a ton)
- 1 oz (2 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, soft
- 1 oz (about 2 Tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 1/2 oz (about 2 Tablespoons) all-purpose flour*
- 1/2 oz (2-3 Tablespoons) rolled oats*
- 1 oz cocoa nibs
- heavy pinch of fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- several shakes of chocolate bitters, (optional)
To Garnish and Serve
- Lightly sweetened and softly whipped cream, (add some cinnamon if you like)
- Crumbled streusel
- Rosemary sprigs**
For the Mousse
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the sugar and water to boiling. Boil with the lid on for a minute to wash down any sugar crystals. Take the lid off and continue to boil until deeply caramelized. You can swirl the pan once it starts to color to keep the color even. Immediately remove from the heat and pour in the cream. Stir until smooth.
- Add the pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and stir well.
- Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pumpkin strings or any other little bits of whatever that will keep your mousse from being smooth and silky. This is optional, but it doesn't take too long and the texture will be much better if you do this step.
- Put the puree in a metal bowl, press plastic wrap down on top of it and refrigerate until at least cool if not cold, about an hour or up to four.
- Whip the second amount of cream to medium to medium-stiff peaks and fold the pumpkin mixture in gently but thoroughly.
- Pour into individual compotes or wee dishes or wine glasses of into whatever vessels make you happy. Chill until serving.
For the Streusel
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and blend until no dry flour or sugar remains.
- Spread onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake until golden brown and crisp, 13-18 minutes, depending on your oven.
- Let cool on a rack and then break into pieces. Can be made a day or two in advance. Store in an airtight container until serving.
To Garnish and Serve
- Dollop a bit of cream on each Vessel of mousse. Add a piece or three of the streusel, or chop it and sprinkle it all over--your call. Add a festive bit of greenery and serve.
*If you don't like oatmeal in your streusel, substitute 4 oz flour and leave the oats out completely.
**I don't usually like to garnish with anything that isn't actually in the dish, but in this case and for a festive occasion, I think it's fine. You can also garnish using whatever herb/s you like--even a mint leaf or two would be lovely.
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Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 6 oz
Amount Per Serving Calories 433Total Fat 30gSaturated Fat 18.3gTrans Fat 0gCholesterol 105mgSodium 302mgCarbohydrates 42.3gFiber 2.3gSugar 35.7gProtein 3g
Thank you so much for spending some time with me today.
Take care, and have a lovely day.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?