Spiced Pumpkin Mousse

By Sally Cameron on November 07, 2009

dessert, Featured 1, holiday dishes, thanksgiving,


With fall arriving and Thanksgiving around the corner, pumpkin dishes are back on our menus. Say “pumpkin” and most people say “pie”, but pumpkin is not just for pie. Some of my favorite pumpkin recipes include pumpkin maple pecan cake, black bean and pumpkin soup, and this sublime pumpkin mousse.

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Spiced Pumpkin Mousse: Easy with Canned Pumpkin

I’ve made this pumpkin mousse many times to the delight of family, guests and clients alike. The best thing is it can be made a day ahead (or first thing in the morning) of the party. Getting something done and “off your checklist” in advance is always welcome.

Using canned pumpkin puree makes this recipe easy. Buy plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. Be sure to read the label.

Versatile for Presentation

You can serve pumpkin mousse in a variety of ways. I’ve piped it into pastry puffs, white chocolate cups, pretty stemmed wine glasses, or just glass dessert dishes. Garnish with a bit of whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, maybe a ginger or Amaretti cookie (or the crushed sprinkles of the cookies), and you’ll have a hit on your hands guaranteed.

Disposable Piping Bags

To get dessert ready quickly at the end of dinner, place the mousse in a disposable piping bag with a star piping tip in the end.  When you are ready for dessert, slice off the tip of the plastic bag to expose the tip, twist the top of the bag to squeeze the contents down into the tip and pipe. Being 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 often use a star piping tip in the size of #865 – #867. These are larger tips than what you usually find at typical stores. They can be purchased at a restaurant supply, pastry supply, or on the web.

Disposable 18″ piping bags are available on Amazon or cooking supply stores.  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.

The lightness and flavor of this pumpkin mousse is a nice alternative to more traditional pumpkin desserts. If tyou try it, please comment and let me know how it worked for you.



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Print Recipe

Spiced Pumpkin Mousse

Creamy, rich and light with a soft spiced pumpkin flavor. Make it a day ahead and have dessert taken care of during a busy Thanksgiving celebration.   Adapted from Gourmet Magazine – November 1998 Note on spices – you can use the individual spices below as the recipe was written. I like to use a blend from Penzeys called Cake Spice. I keep it on hand for baking, making granola, and in oatmeal or cookies. It’s an aromatic blend of China cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and clove. I also love Penzeys Double Vanilla. Visit www.penzeys.com if you are not familiar with their site and all of the wonderful herbs and spices they have to offer.  


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin less than 1 envelope
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar such as organic evaporated cane juice
  • 1 1/2 cups plain canned solid-pack pumpkin a 15 ounce can, not pumpkin pie base
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups well-chilled heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons good quality vanilla I use Penzeys double vanilla
  • 6 Gingersnaps optional, Gingerman, or Amaretti cookies for garnish


  1. In a medium metal bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water to soften 1 minute. Whisk in yolks and sugar and set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook egg mixture, whisking constantly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into mixture registers 160°F with a kitchen thermometer ( I use a digital one for easy reading). (Tilt bowl to facilitate measuring temperature.)
  2. Remove bowl from pan and with an electric mixer (or a hand mixer or standing mixer with the whisk attachment) beat egg mixture until cool and thickened, about 5 minutes. Mixture will be very sticky. Beat in pumpkin and spices. Chill pumpkin mixture, covered, until thickened and cool but not completely set, about 1 hour.
  3. In a bowl with clean beaters beat cream with vanilla until it just holds stiff peaks and fold into pumpkin mixture gently but thoroughly.
  4. Transfer mousse to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain or star tip and pipe into stemmed glasses. Cover with plastic film and chill until firmed up, about 3 hours, and up to 1 day. If you have piped it into white chocolate shells where the mousse is not protected by a glass rim, you can leave uncovered in the refrigerator for a few hours or cover loosely with plastic film, taking care not to mess up your piping.
  5. Just before serving, garnish with whole cookies.
  6. Note – It’s equally as good freshly made if you have not had time to make it ahead but will pipe easier after sitting in the fridge for a few hours.

Recipe Notes

For the spices, you can also use a blend, such as Penzey's Cake Spice or Savory Spice Shop Pumpkin Pie Spice.


Leave a Comment
Madonna | 11/02/2011 at 1:18 pm

I think I will be having two different meals that I will have to bring dessert. I think this is my Thanksgiving dessert. Your instruction said chill mousse, uncovered, until firmed up a bit, about 3 hours, and up to 1 day (loosely cover after 3 hours). What is the purpose of leaving it uncovered? Does it not form a skin on top?

Also for pies I notice that a lot of recipes for pumpkin pie use a can of condensed milk. Can I use half and half with the same result? Although I will use canned pumpkin, I try to limit any canned ingredients.

    Sally | 11/02/2011 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Madonna – This is my favorite pumpkin dessert! When I recommend chilling uncovered after you have piped or spooned into the serving containers (glasses, cups, white chocolate shells, etc) it’s just so you don’t mess up the look. Its ok for a few hours uncovered…or you can cover it loosely with plastic film. I’ll make a note in the post with a better explanation. Thanks much for asking. You are a good detail person! I am also going to test this recipe this week with a product called Healthy Top, which is a vegan replacement for whipped cream. Lower in fat and calories.

    When it comes to baking a pumpkin pie and altering ingredients, that’s hard to say Here is a recipe for a replacement I’ve been wanting to try.


Madonna | 11/02/2011 at 3:38 pm

Oops, I meant evaporated milk. I don’t mean to sound so pedant, but I seem to need more instructions than the norm. As I said before I love your site and I in no way mean anything critical with all my questions. Everything I have made from your site has been excellent. Your family is very lucky, and now so am I.

    Sally | 11/02/2011 at 3:52 pm

    You’re not being critical at all. You are being inquisitive and that’s good. I’m always happy to help. Half and half should work fine as a sub for evap milk. Glad the recipes are working for you!

Carol | 11/17/2013 at 4:38 pm

GREAT recipe! Thanks. I’m planning to pipe this into 36 phyllo cups that I’ll make in a cupcake pan. Question: Do you have any idea how many cups your recipe makes?



    Sally | 11/17/2013 at 8:56 pm

    Hi Carol. Oohhh, I wish I had that note. It is a generous serving for 6, so depending on the appetites of your guests you may be able to get 8 out of the recipe, especially after a Thanksgiving dinner. Another thought. When you do your phyllo cups, try adding warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to flavor the phyllo cups. You will have to report back how they came out!

      Carol | 11/23/2013 at 11:03 pm

      Oh, great idea to flavor the phyllo cups! Maybe a tiny bit of sugar, too?

      Here’s the “how to” I’m following for the phyllo cups: http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/homemade-phyllo-cups/

      Originally, I was going to make baked phyllo cannollis, then decided that all it would take for is one person to pick up a cannolli, bite into it, and the pumpkin mousse would go shooting out the other end… splat! No good could come of that. LOL

Carol | 11/17/2013 at 4:47 pm

Followup question: Assuming I need to quadruple this recipe in order to get 18 cups of final product, do you think that’s a good idea or should I make 4 separate batches?


    Sally | 11/17/2013 at 9:29 pm

    You might be able to handle a double batch (as I have done that for larger parties) but not a quadruple batch. That’s a lot at once for a home kitchen and standard size appliances. Thinking you will for sure need to use a standing mixer with a whisk attachment. You will get better consistency with two double batches. You will really need those disposable piping bags (and tips) to store, then execute to fill your phyllo cups. And the mousse can be made a day or even two ahead, stored in the bags with tips in place, ready to go, then fill your phyllo cups. It’s good to make it ahead, because it sets up nicely under refrigeration. Can’t wait to hear how it comes out. Any other questions, please email me!

      Carol | 11/23/2013 at 11:15 pm

      Thanks again, Sally. Good to know I can make the mousse ahead. Once I looked at the quantity of ingredients, I decided that a quad recipe was just asking for trouble. Glad you confirmed it. I have a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, so I’m good there.

      However… I just took a closer look at the Wilton decorator tube thing I bought months ago. Nice bunch of tips… but… the cylinder only holds about a cup, so I need to hunt down some bags so I’m not endlessly filling the Wilton cylinder.

      Thanks again for your help and encouragement… I’ll definitely tell you how it all turned out!

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