Creamy Spiced Pumpkin Dessert – Reduced Sugar and Dairy Free

by Sally on November 7, 2011 · 25 comments

in Dessert, Holiday Dishes, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian Dishes

For the perfect finale to your Thanksgiving feast, here’s a creamy, sweet and light pumpkin dessert. I’ve overhauled my original recipe using refined white sugar and heavy dairy cream. This fantastic dessert is now made with agave syrup, a lower glycemic alternative to sugar, and Healthy Top, a dairy-free, soy-free replacement for heavy cream. It retains it’s wonderful texture and most importantly, spiced pumpkin flavor.

Updated Version

The original version of this recipe was posted two years ago. It was definitely in the splurge category because of the heavy cream. A once a year dessert reserved for Thanksgiving. The results of this updated recipe are terrific – 37% less fat and 28% less saturated fat (and that is from coconut, not animal sources).

Today, I’m more focused on creating healthier recipes. For one thing, that means eliminating refined white sugar. I’ve discovered products like Healthy Top and Xagave syrup and have begun experimenting with them to reduce sugar, fat and caloriesWhile agave is still a sweetener, and we must be mindful of using all sweeteners, I like how the Xagave brand is made. In this recipe, I’ve replaced 3/4 of a cup of white sugar with 1/2 cup a agave syrup. I you want to reduce all sugars further, try using liquid stevia.

Just like the original, this pumpkin mousse is versatile. You can pipe or spoon it into stemmed wine glasses, brandy snifters or glass dessert dishes. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and you’ll have a hit on your hands.

Time-Savings Tips

To save time on a busy Thanksgiving day, make this pumpkin dessert a day ahead. Place the mousse in a disposable piping bag with a star tip in the end, ready to go for serving.

When you are ready for dessert, slice off the tip of the plastic bag to expose the metal tip. Twist the top of the bag to squeeze the contents down into the tip and pipe. As I am right-handed, I twist and gently squeeze with my right hand and guide the bag with my left.

Mousse and other soft fillings, either sweet or savory, are easy to store and transport in a disposable piping bag. I use a star tip size #865 – #867. These are larger tips than what you find at typical kitchen supply stores. They can be purchased at a restaurant supply, pastry supply, or online.

The disposable piping bags are 18” and available in a roll. I use them not only for piping mousse, but deviled egg filling and even fancy mashed potatoes. They come in handy and are clean and sanitary compared to the old cloth style.

Try Stevia for Further Sugar Reduction

A note on sugar content: For those concerned with reducing all sugars in their diet, not just refined white sugar, you can use stevia instead of agave. As Healthy Top does contain sugar, using stevia would reduce the overall sugars. The liquid form should incorporate easily.

Creamy Spiced Pumpkin Dessert – Reduced Sugar and Dairy Free

Creamy, rich-tasting and light with a spiced pumpkin flavor, I’ve replaced the sugar with agave syrup and the heavy cream with Healthy Top to reduce fat and calories. This is a healthier recipe than the original, and it tastes delicious. Make it a day ahead and have dessert taken care of during a busy Thanksgiving celebration.

A note on spices and sweeteners– You can use the individual spices noted below and adjust to your taste. I often use a blend from Penzeys called Cake Spice. It’s an aromatic blend of China cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and clove. I also love Penzeys Double Vanilla. It’s good quality and strong. As Healthy Top does have sugar in it, if you want to reduce the sugars, use stevia. The liquid form would incorporate easily. It also would reduce the sugar.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (4 grams) unflavored gelatin (less than 1 envelope)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cold water
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 15 ounce (425 gr) can solid-pack organic pumpkin (not pumpkin pie base)
  • 1/2 cup (167 gr or about 130 ml)) agave syrup (I prefer Xagave brand)
  • 1 teaspoon Penzeys Cake Spice blend (or blend 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and a good pinch of clove and nutmeg)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) good quality vanilla
  • 1 16 ounce (473ml) container of Healthy Top, chilled approximately 1 hour

Directions

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer.
  2. In a medium metal bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water to soften for 1 minute. Whisk egg yolks into gelatin until smooth. Set bowl over the saucepan of simmering water. Cook gelatin-egg mixture, whisking constantly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 160°F (71 C), about two minutes. Use a digital thermometer for easy reading, tilting bowl to facilitate measuring the temperature.
  3. Remove bowl from pan and by hand with a French whisk or balloon whisk, beat egg mixture until cool and thickened, about 5 minutes. You can also use a handheld electric mixer with the whisk attachment. The mixture will be sticky. Beat in pumpkin, Xagave, spices and vanilla until smooth and combined. Chill pumpkin mixture, covered with plastic film, until thickened and cool, about 30 minutes.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer with whisk attachment, beat Healthy Top on high speed until thick, creamy and stiffened. Beat in the pumpkin mixture. You can also use a hand mixer.
  5. Transfer mousse to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain or star tip chill in the refrigerator for a few hours and up to a day ahead to firm up. You can also place the dessert in a large bowl and cover with plastic film. At serving, pipe or spoon into stemmed glasses or glass dishes. Just before serving, garnish with cinnamon.

Other Helpful Links, Tools and Information:

Here is the link to the original recipe with sugar and heavy cream

Star tips (with a nice photo showing them) and baking supplies on the web at The Ultimate Baker

18″clear, disposable piping bags, package of 10 or package of 100 on Amazon

Whisks are an essential tool. Here are several that I use – A French whisk and a balloon whisk.

A standing mixer is a handy tool for serious cooks. It provides hands-free operation. I have a KitchenAid Pro 600. It has a powerful motor and a 6-quart bowl. It comes in a smaller 5-quart model as well.

Questions & answers about stevia from Stevia.com

Information about Xagave brand of agave syrup

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This post contains links to Affiliate Programs, where I may receive a small commission for any purchases.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carrie Horton November 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I am looking for “Sugar free” holiday deserts. I have tried this before with sugar and it was delightful and the overall presentation is lovely. Might I suggest that when you post your recipes that you indicated the time for prep/cooking. Once I see something I like the second thing I look at is the prep time. If the time is too long…it often times get filed away. Time is precious and I do not want to spend too much of it cooking.

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2 Sally November 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Hi Carrie. Thanks for your comment. I understand how that would be helpful. I’m always a little hesitant to note times because everyone works at a different pace. On this recipe, I’d say it takes about 15 minutes to get the gelatin-egg-pumpkin base made, then about another 30 minutes to chill, plus another 15 minutes to whip the Healthy Top and add the pumpkin base together. I’d think most people could have this made in an hour, then let it sit in the fridge to chill longer and set up before piping or spooning. You can make it a day ahead of when you plan to serve. Does that help? Will try and make notes in the future!

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3 Sally November 17, 2013 at 10:06 am

And to make it sugar-free, try using liquid stevia instead of any sugar or agave syrup.

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4 susan November 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm

sally, this is gorgeous! i would eat all three if I had the opportunity!

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5 Madonna November 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Where did you buy Healthy Top? I’ve been calling the stores that the site said it could be found, but they don’t know what it is. I am so excited about this recipe. When you said last week you were going to use Healthy Top, I thought I would just use regular whipping cream because I am allergic to lecithin, which is why I avoid packaging and preserved food. It’s in everything, but wow the website says soy-free, low fat and low sugar. What more can you ask, yeah! The thought of making it ahead of time is so appealing and I would think beneficial giving the flavor time to develop. Can’t wait. Thank you so much.

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6 Sally November 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Hi Madonna. Healthy Top can be a little tough to find. if you are local (Orange County) I’ve found it at Mothers Market in Costa Mesa and Stella Lucy market in San Clemente. Otherwise, i’ve shipped it off their internet site. Keep calling and telling stores they need to carry it. I do that all of the time. Health-oriented stores will be the most receptive.

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7 rachelsdigestif November 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm

This looks absolutely divine and perfect for the upcoming holidays!

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8 Connie / Marinating Online November 8, 2011 at 10:13 am

I was hoping to find some great holiday desserts without refined sugar and this is definately going to be one of them.
I wonder if you could use splenda for an even lower glycemic index?

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9 Sally November 8, 2011 at 10:57 am

Hi Connie. I’ve not tried it with anything like Splenda. If you want to try it with Splenda, I’d use the directions more like in the original post. Cook the Splenda with the gelatin and yolk mixture. See the first step of the Spiced Pumpkin Mousse post under the dessert category. Please let us know how it comes out.

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10 Sally November 17, 2013 at 10:10 am

Connie, one more note. I am not a fan of Splenda or artificial sweeteners. They are just not good for you. Try using stevia instead. It is natural and safer.

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11 Katie November 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I just made a huge batch of my own pumpkin puree, will this work?

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12 Sally November 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Sally, This looks light and lovely–it would be great after a big Thanksgiving dinner. BUT, I confess, I love my grandmother’s pumpkin pie, and I will skip a few side dishes to save room for it!

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13 Dr. Patrick Mahaney November 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Anything with pumpkin, especially if it is made by Sally Cameron, is right up my alley. Does this come in an IV (intravenous) version?

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14 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen November 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I really like the presentation in the glasses, what an elegant touch.

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15 Diane {Created by Diane} November 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Looks delicious.
Michelle K. and I are talking about blogs now and wishing you were here, so we could meet :) I’m sure you are having a great time at IFBC, hope to meet someday!

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16 Jeff November 14, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Sexy! That’s the best way to describe photos like that one! I love the presentation of this dish and I can imagine guests loving it! Nicely done.

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17 Mac November 17, 2011 at 8:13 am

Your Creamy Spiced Pumpkin Dessert touts being Sugar Free, but there is 64 grams of sugar in a 16 oz container of Healthy Top. This is a bit deceiving for diabetics, or did I miss the sugar free version of this topping?

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18 Sally November 17, 2011 at 11:04 am

Hi Mac – Thanks for your comment so I can clarify. I don’t add any refined white sugar as is used in the original recipe. Yes, there is sugar in the Healthy Top product, 2 tablespoons per tablespoon or 64 sugars in an entire container of 16 ounces. That’s 8 sugars per serving.

I’ve traded the refined white sugar for agave syrup, specifically the brand Xagave because i like the way they make it compared to some other agave syrups. While it not completely sugar free, the agave is lower glycemic and more diabetic friendly.

If you need to reduce all sugars further, I’d suggest replacing the agave with stevia. The liquid form would incorporate easily, and it has zero calories and is rated zero on the glycemic index. If you used stevia instead of agave, you would only need to consider the sugars in the Healthy Top, which would make the dessert overall 8 sugars per serving. Two drops of liquid stevia = 1 teaspoon of sugar or 6 drops per tablespoon according to what I have read.

I’ve added additional notes to the recipe and post to clarify. Thanks again.

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19 Jillena November 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I thought I was done with my menu! I am so making this!!! It was great meeting you at IFBC! I do hope we keep in touch!

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20 Sally November 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Hi Katie. It should work fine, but it will depend on how thick your puree is and how much moisture is in it. Think about the dense texture of canned pumpkin. That’s what you need. If yours is not that thick, maybe strain it through several layers of cheesecloth. Please let me know how it comes out. I’m headed to the kitchen to make some for a cooking demo class tonight!

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