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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkin Pie--with a Modern Twist

No Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Note:  Several of you have either emailed or commented directly on the post that the West African Peanut Soup, though you trusted my judgment, sounded strange.  Maybe it does, but do trust me when I say that if you like peanuts, greens, and sweet potatoes, this soup just may become a new favorite for you.  I can't say enough good things about it!

Pumpkin Pie with a Modern Twist
by Victoria Challancin

If the truth be known, in spite of the expat life I have lived, the foreign influences, the extensive travel,     the love of the exotic, I am secretly rather a traditionalist.  No one would suspect it, because of the way I have lived my life, but truly I am.  At least when it comes to family, holidays, and comfort food.  On Thanksgiving and Christmas particularly, I want the food of my family, the food of my youth.  No matter how much chestnut- and foi gras- stuffed pheasant might appeal at any other time, what I want to sit down with on those days is the food from my mother's kitchen.  My Mom's cornbread dressing.  My aunt's pumpkin pie.  My sister-in-law's squash casserole.  My brother's heavenly yeast rolls.  Home-cooked comfort food.

And even here in Mexico where we always share Thanksgiving my dearest friend and her mixed American-Mexican family, no matter how creatively Mexican and delicious the turkey is, I am never asked to bring something equally exotic to accompany it, rather two dishes are always requested of me:  green bean casserole (a modern updated version) and sweet potato "soufflé."  Southern food.  Nothing exotic there, of course, except that our Mexican friends always think the sweet potato dish is a dessert.

For my cooking class last week, however, I decided to offer the Mexican a simple dessert, full of fall flavors, appropriate for holidays, and a breeze to pull together:  No Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie.  Using a cookie crust pulled together in a food processor made the base so easy, especially when no baking or cooling was required.  The mousse and spiced whipped cream topping also came together quickly.  A bit of shaved chocolate (yes, I wish I had used curls of dark chocolate...) and some time in the refrigerator--and voilà, you have a holiday dessert with interesting flavors that tastes delicious and looks pretty as well.


The pumpkin mousse base

The spiced cocoa whipped cream topping 

 Laura, shaving chocolate over the finished pie

Cook's Notes:  I only had access to Oreo cookies, but would have used chocolate wafers had they been available.  Also, in retrospect, although we did used bittersweet chocolate to shave over the pie, I would have preferred long curls of dark chocolate for contrast.   We also didn't have time for proper chilling, which often happens in class.  Other than that, this pie was perfect--and not too sweet.

Recipe:  No Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Pie

For the chocolate crust:
6 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (about 27 wafers)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Pumpkin Mousse:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

For the Spiced Cocoa Whipped Cream:  
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves

For the Garnish:
3 ounce bar bittersweet chocolate

In food processor, process chocolate wafers and sugar until finely ground,  Add melted butter and pulse to moisten.  Transfer mixture to pie plate and firmly press into botom and up sides.  Set in fridge to chill while you make the pumpkin mousse.

In large bowl, stir cream cheese, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves until completely incorporated.  Stir in pumpkin and vanilla until smooth and incorporated.  In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream on medium-high speed until cream holds soft peaks that slowly dip down when whisk is pulled out of cream.  Using rubber spatula, gently fold into pumpkin mixture.  Pour mousse into pie shell and chill in fridge while you prepare the cocoa whipped cream.

Into unwashed mixer bowl, add all ingredients for the spiced chocolate whipped cream and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.  Place bowl in standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed to almost stiff peaks.  Spread over top of pumpkin mousse.  Chill pie until set, about 3 hours.

Place chocolate bar on work surface.  Using paring knife, scrape chocolate shavings from bar and use to garnish top of pie.

The finished pie--a modern pumpkin pie perfect for the holidays

Parting Shot:
San Miguel de Allende


©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Like life, recipes are meant to be shared, but please ask permission before using photos or text.  Thanks!



6 comments:

Hotly Spiced said...

I really like the look of this Victoria and how you've done a chocolate crust. That must be so delicious with the whipped topping. Oreo's turn up in so many recipes xx

Eha said...

Love the happy feeling left by the last photo! Being a Buddhist, such joy of expression has oft been seen in the Himalayas - in the end, we all are the same in so many ways???

Halal Food Philadelphia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Not Quite Nigella said...

What a great idea using a chocolate crust! :D Love the colourful flags in the last photo too!

Sawsan@chef in disguise said...

That last picture is just beautiful. Bright sunny and colorful :)
I love your modern twist on pumpkin pie. It is indeed easy and I am sure delicious

http://platanosmangoes.com said...

It sounds quite different, but I am sure delicious. Thisnga have been a bit hectic at home with work and all and it seems that I am always catching up to comments.