Growing up, my older sister always got to choose what we would have for dessert at Thanksgiving and she always chose pumpkin pie. Her favorite frozen pumpkin pie would always grace (or disgrace in my opinion) our Thanksgiving table. I never liked pumpkin pie when I was growing up – there was just something about it…the texture, the flavor – it just did not work for me and never has. Once I got married I had my first chance to start experimenting in the kitchen and that first year of being married was when the pumpkin mousse pie was born.
By combining lightly sweetened and spiced pumpkin puree with whipped cream, you get a fluffy pie filling that has a lovely whipped texture and a much lighter flavor profile when compared to traditional pumpkin pie. The graham cracker crust makes for a lovely crunch that perfectly compliments the smooth and creamy pumpkin mousse filling. Topped off with a layer of fresh whipped cream and some crushed candied pecans- this pumpkin mousse pie is life changing.
Now, there’s no judgement if you like or even love traditional pumpkin pie. Maybe you were lucky enough to have really good homemade pumpkin pie growing up, or maybe you love the frozen version as much as my older sister. Either way, you really should still do yourself a favor and try this pumpkin mousse pie at least once. This pie has literally converted many fellow pumpkin pie haters like my former self into pumpkin pie lovers, including my father-in-law, who does not take well to changing his mind about anything – and he now specifically requests this pie to be present at our Thanksgiving table every year.
This dessert also acts as a bit of relief amidst all of the cooking that has to be done on Thanksgiving day itself, since it is made ahead of time. The time it spends in the refrigerator for a couple of days before serving leaves the crust to soften just enough to be the perfect texture for that smooth filling. Not to mention, after Thanksgiving dinner, where most of us have already over indulged, this pumpkin mousse pie is like a breath of fresh air that you will actually find yourself craving, even after eating such a big meal.
Now, you may be thinking that ‘life-changing’ is a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, if you are someone who does not like pumpkin pie, this pumpkin mousse pie will absolutely change your mind.
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp maple syrup, separated
- 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp clove
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 sleeve graham crackers (approx 9 whole graham crackers) - gluten free or paleo graham crackers will work as well
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 tsp fine grain salt
- 1/3 cup candied pecans, chopped
- Start by sprinkling the gelatin over the 1/4 cup of water in a small dish, let gelatin soak into water while you move on to the next step
- In a small pot combine pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and spices - place on the stovetop over medium low heat, stirring to combine
- Once mixture is heated through, add the soaked gelatin to the pot, stirring until dissolved & well combined. Turn off the heat and allow pumpkin mixture to cool to room temperature while you prepare the pie crust.
- Pre-heat oven to 350f
- Crush graham crackers into fine crumbs in your food processor - add fine grain salt & pulse briefly to combine. Add melted butter and pulse until well combined with the graham cracker crumbs.
- Pour crumbs into a 9" pie dish, spreading them evenly into the bottom of the pie dish. Using a measuring cup, press the crumbs evenly across the pie dish & up the sides. Use the measuring cup along with your fingers to gently press the crumbs at the edges to make sure they are nice & packed.
- Bake the crust for 12 minutes - remove from the oven & allow to cool to room temperature.
- Whip the heavy whipping cream along with the 2 tbsp of maple syrup until soft peaks
- Reserve 1 cup of the finished whipped cream
- Fold the cooled pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream until just combined
- Add the pumpkin mousse mixture to your cooled pie crust & then top off with the reserved 1 cup of whipped cream
- Place pie into the refrigerator to chill at least 24 hours before finishing off with chopped candied pecans before serving
*to make this recipe in a hurry - you can use store-bought graham cracker crust & canned pumpkin pie filling (just warm pumpkin pie filling & add the prepared gelatin to the heated pumpkin pie filling)