Sunday, November 14, 2010

Destination Post: Pumpkin Mousse Tartlets with Maple Drizzle

Welcome to a destination post! As I mentioned in my last post, I have a new job--baking! This post is brought to you from the kitchen at my job, rather than from my home kitchen. We celebrated Thanksgiving early for the kiddos and did a whole Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted green beans, mashed sweet potatoes served in cute little orange halves, and...pumpkin pie! Sort of. Actually, pie shells filled with a pumpkin mousse and drizzled with maple icing. I'll do my best to re-create the recipe here, but we tinkered with it substantially over the course of making these, so it'll be a close approximation.

You see, I had to make 500 tartlets. That's a lot. In fact, I really had no concept as to exactly how many until I had seven industrial-sized sheet pans filled with pre-baked tart shells. And it was right about then when I realized that the amount of pumpkin mousse I had made (by multiplying this recipe by SIX) was not going to be enough. It wasn't even going to be close to enough. Thankfully, that same day, I had been making tiramisu filling. In contrast to the pumpkin mousse, the tiramisu recipe made a LOT of extra filling. So, I folded some into the pumpkin mousse, figuring I could always add more cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger to increase the pumpkin flavor. And then I tasted the pumpkin mousse. And it was PERFECT! Score! These were a big hit with both the kids and the staff (the executive chef, who claims he doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, ate THREE right in front of me!).

Pumpkin Mousse Tartlets with Maple Drizzle (adapted from

  • Dough for a 9" double pie crust
  • 1 (1/4-oz) envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 c. cold water
  • 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 2 1/4 c. powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 4 Tbl. milk, or as needed

Roll out the dough to a thin layer. Cut into approximately 3" squares using a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Fit each square into a well of a well-greased, normal-sized muffin tin. Grease the BOTTOM of another muffin pan, and put it on top of the first, to act as pie weights. Bake the crusts at 375 degrees F for about 8-10 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Cool.

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small saucepan. Let bloom for about 1 minute. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until gelatin is completely dissolved. In a large bowl, cream the mascarpone (can substitute cream cheese) with the brown sugar. Mix in pumpkin, spices, salt, and gelatin mixture until well-combined.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add 1/4 c. powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla, and continue whisking until it forms stiff peaks. Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture, to lighten it. Then, fold in the remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate overnight to let the mixture set.

In a bowl, mix 2 c. powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, maple syrup, and enough milk until the mixture is smooth and at a drizzle-able consistency.

To assemble:
Pipe about 2-3 Tbl. of mousse into each pie crust shell. Drizzle the tarts with the maple icing.

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