Pumpkin Mousse

I love Thanksgiving!  It is simply my most favorite holiday of the year.  When I was a very young child, I always remember my grandmother’s family traveling to Las Vegas from Los Angeles to be with us for Thanksgiving.  I loved everyone “Gathering” together in the kitchen each family member making their most prized dish for the holiday table.  I remember eating things on Thanksgiving that we never ate any other time of year.  Like stuffing, Apple Streusel, Kishke, (don’t ask) and homemade cranberry sauce!  I used to look forward to this holiday because of the people who we only could share love with once a year, and the foods that brought us all together.  

I always want to re-create that love every year for myself and my family who were not even on the planet when I began to experience this kind of love in the kitchen.   This recipe is by Ina Garten.  I have tried many times to change this mousse to make it my own, but nothing can re-create the magic that Ina has put into this recipe.  Any one ingredient put in or left out would be noticed and change the perfection of her creation.  This is the most amazing dessert to put into Tiger Pumpkins and it can be done many hours before dinner.  Enjoy!

To Roast the Pumpkins

Serves:

6 – 8

Total Time:

30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Miniature Tiger Pumpkins (one for each one of your guests)

  • Organic coconut oil spray

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.

Cut off the tops of the pumpkins.

With a grapefruit or serrated spoon, scrape out the meat and seeds, being careful not to scrape the bottom too thinly.

Once hollowed out, spray the inside of the pumpkin with the organic coconut oil spray.

Sprinkle with salt.

Wipe the outside of the pumpkins with a paper towel to remove the extra oil so they do not char in the oven.

Place upside down on a cookie sheet lined with a cooking rack and bake with the tops off but also in the oven for 15 minutes. Watching closely to be sure they do not crack or split. You will know they are done when they no longer smell raw and have a sweet pumpkin aroma to them.

 

To Make the Pumpkin Mousse

Serves:

8 – 10

Total Time:

2 hours 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 (29-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 extra-large egg yolks
  • 2 packages (4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 2 ripe bananas, finely mashed
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus more for garnish, optional

Topping:

  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don’t want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.

 Add the banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.  

Dissolve the gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, Set aside to cool.

For the decoration: Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Fold half the whipped cream into the cooled pumpkin mixture.

Pour the mousse into each individual Tiger Pumpkin and pipe or spoon the remaining whipped cream decoratively on the mousse and sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest. Serve chilled. Enjoy!

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When I was about 10 years old my Aunt Irene began to invite us to her home along with other family and friends for all of the Jewish holidays. Each holiday she served this amazing Berry Trifle. What we loved about her trifle as kids is that she used those amazing Nilla Vanilla Wafer cookies to layer the trifle. That just got us all excited and made us laugh. We could hardly wait to dive in. At 10 years old, I hated sweets and never ate them. But this one, I loved! Maybe because she made it with love and I could taste it. This recipe uses either pound cake or vanilla wafers, which ever strikes your fancy. Enjoy!

TIP: It’s best to serve this beautiful dessert in a large Trifle bowl. This is a clear, glass bowl on a pedestal that allows the lovely layered dish to show through the glass. It is also known as a pedestal bowl or glass footed bowl.

Serves:

8 – 10

Total Time:

2 hours

For the Grand Marnier Cream

Ingredients:

  • 3 C. whole milk

  • 10 large egg yolks (at room temperature)

  • 1 C. sugar

  • 4 Tbsp. sifted corn starch

  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  • 2 tsp. Grand Marnier liqueur

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream

 

Directions:

First, make the Grand Marnier Cream.

Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a strong steaming simmer just before the boiling point. Remove from the heat.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until eggs are pale and thick. About 3 to 5 minutes depending on the mixer.

With the mixer on low, sprinkle on the cornstarch. Beat on medium speed until combined, scraping down the bowl as you go with a rubber spatula.

Very slowly, pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture while mixing on low speed and then pour the entire mixture back into the pan.

With extreme patience cook over low heat, stirring continually until the mixture thickens about 5 to 7 minutes. Do not take your eye off of it. When it begins to thicken it goes very quickly and will become scrambled eggs unless you continue to stir and remove it from the heat.

Immediately pour the mixture through a fine sieve over a large bowl. Use a spatula to scrape and help the custard ease through the sieve into the bowl.

Stir in the vanilla, Grand Marnier, butter and heavy cream and place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.

For the Trifle

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen pound cakes or 1 ½ boxes Nilla Vanilla Wafers

  • 1 C. seedless raspberry jam

  • ½ C. Grand Marnier liqueur

  • 1 pint fresh raspberries

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries

 

Directions:
Next, make the Trifle.

Cut the pound cake into ¾ inch slices.

Sprinkle each slice with Grand Marnier liqueur and spread raspberry jam over one side.

Place a layer of cake jam side up (or a layer of Vanilla wafers spread with jam on top) on the bottom cutting or breaking the pieces to fit.

Top with a layer of combined berries and then the Grand Marnier cream on top. (Save some raspberries to decorate the top of the trifle.)

Repeat the layers adding three or more layers depending on your bowl size. End your last layer with cake or wafers covering the top, jam side down.

For the Topping

Ingredients:

  • 1 C. cold heavy cream

  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla bean paste

 

Directions:

Finally, make the Topping.

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment for about three minutes on high until it begins to thicken.

When it thickens slowly add the sugar and vanilla paste, and continue to whip until it forms soft peaks.

Decorate the top of the trifle with the whip cream in two concentric circles on the outside edge and in the middle. Top with the remaining fresh raspberries.

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My sister and I are nine years apart. We are almost complete opposites in so many ways, and yet we dearly love each other as most sisters do. I love to cook but have never liked baking. Of course, she hates cooking but loves to bake. She found this recipe and shared it with me. We always have loved it and kiddingly always say, “This is the ‘BESTEST’ Carrot Cake anywhere.” Hope you like it as much as we all do.

Serves:

8 – 10

Total Time:

90 minutes

For the Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 C. flour

  • 2 C. sugar

  • 3 C. grated carrots

  • 4 eggs (room temperature)

  • 1 ½ C. sunflower oil

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)

  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt

  • 2 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, sugar and carrots in the mixer on low speed.

Add the eggs, oil, cream cheese and mix on medium for one minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix on medium for another minute.

Pour into two 8-inch cake pans and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a rack out of the pan.

For the Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)

  • 1 stick butter (room temperature)

  • 1lb. box powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Cream thoroughly the cream cheese and butter.

Sift and slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix well and then add the vanilla.

If the Frosting is too thick for your taste you can thin it by adding milk one Tbsp. at a time.

When cakes have cooled ,place the first layer top side down on the platter. Smooth frosting on the flat side facing up thoroughly.

Place the second layer flat side down on the frosting. Layer the top and the sides if you wish.

Decorate with grated carrots on top and some crumbled candied ginger.

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This recipe was written on a note card that I still have more than 47 years later. Complete each slice with a spread of room temperature butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top. Enjoy. 

Serves:

6 – 8

Total Time:

1 hours 15 minutes

To Prepare

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ C. brown sugar

  • ⅓ C. sunflower oil

  • 2 eggs (room temperature)

  • 3 Tbsp. buttermilk

  • 1 C. banana mashed (about three bananas)

  • 2 C. flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. baking soda

  • ½ tsp. salt

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a glass bowl, combine the first four ingredients until well mixed.

Add the bananas.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Fold in the dry ingredients until mixed well.

Grease a loaf pan and pour the ingredients into the pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a pick comes out clean.

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Serves:

8 – 10 

Total Time:

1.5 Hours

For the Cake

 Ingredients:

  • 1 package Duncan Hines Orange Supreme cake mix Or 1 package Duncan Hines Butter Golden cake mix if you can’t find the orange cake.

  • 1 small package instant vanilla pudding

  • 4 eggs (room temperature)

  • ½ C. oil (sunflower preferred)

  • ¾ C. fresh squeezed orange juice

  • 2 Tbsp. orange zest

  • 2 Tbsp. vodka

  • 3 oz. Galliano liqueur

  • 1 package candied orange slices   Tip: Find these at Trader Joe’s

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer, combine the cake mix and pudding on low speed for about 30 seconds.

Increase to medium speed and add the eggs, oil, orange juice, orange zest, vodka, and Galliano. Mix for about 1.5 minutes until well combined.

Grease a Bundt cake pan and pour the batter into the molded pan.

Bake for 55 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before turning over onto a cake plate.

 

For the Poke Soak

 Ingredients:

 

  • ½ stick sweet butter softened

  • ½ C. fresh squeezed orange juice

  • 1 C. sugar

  • 1 ½ Tbsp. vodka

  • 1 ½ Tbs. Galliano liqueur

    Directions:

    Melt the butter and add the orange juice, sugar, vodka and Galliano.

    Simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.

    Take a wooden skewer (or any other skewer you have) and poke holes along the top of the cake about every ½ to 1 inch.

    Pour the poke soak over the top of the cake slowly and allow it to find its way through the holes in the cake. Let the cake sit for about 15 minutes.

    For Wallbanger Glaze

    Ingredients:

     

    • 1 C. sifted powdered sugar

    • 1 Tbsp. orange juice freshly squeezed

    • 1 Tbsp. Galliano liqueur

    • 1 tsp. vodka

    Directions:

    Combine the powder sugar, orange juice, Galliano and Vodka in a bowl with a wire whisk.

    Drizzle generously over the top of the cake and let come down the sides into the center and to the front of the cake.

    For the Caramel Glass

    Ingredients:

    • ½ C. granulated sugar

    • 3 Tbsp. Galliano liqueu

     

    Directions:

    Line a baking sheet with a food-grade silicone liner (Silpat).

    Place the granulated sugar and Galliano in a small saucepan and cook, without stirring or shaking the pan until the mixture rolls in a simmer to a deep amber color. This will take about 5 to 7 minutes.

    Pour the caramel on to the silicone mat and allow to cool to room temperature.

    Tip: I highly recommend using a Silpat as it is easier to roll the glass off the surface and break into chards. Never any sticking. Also, and let me be clear, never never touch the caramel glass until it is cooled or you will have pain like never before as it takes off your top layer of skin. (I speak from experience)

    Once cooled, break into shards and decorate the top of the cake, along with thin candied dried orange slices.

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