22nd November, 2010 - Posted by admin - No Comments
Thanksgiving dinner is a cherished tradition: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, bread. All our favorite starches and sauces in one place. To end the meal, consider a lighter version of the classic pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin mousse pie delivers all the same flavors without the bulk and has the added advantage of being a cold pie – which means it doesn’t take up room in the oven, can be made in advance and can also be stored on the back porch should the weather be chilly enough – a proud Chef Guyton family tradition.
Mousse sounds complicated on the surface, but at it’s core it’s nothing more than eggs and flavoring all whipped up together and chilled. This recipe calls for the addition of unflavored gelatin, which provides some extra stability. There is also a quarter cup of brandy, which brings out the pumpkin flavor. Don’t skip that part.
To begin, combine the brandy and gelatin in a bowl and set aside. This is called “blooming the gelatin” and it not a step that can be rushed. You’ll end up with an odd brandy-flavored piece of rubber, but that’s ok. It gets melted later.
A stand mixer is incredibly useful for this recipe. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. The pie can still be made, but multi-tasking will be difficult unless there’s another person hanging around willing to handle the equipment.
While the gelatin is doing it’s thing, mix the eggs until they are pale yellow and fluffy. This will take a minimum of five minutes and possibly longer. Start with room-temprature eggs to make it go a little quicker. If the eggs are cold, slip them into a bowl of luke-warm water for a bit. Warm eggs tend to behave better than cold ones straight from the fridge.
While the eggs are mixing, boil the water and sugar together. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, get one before starting this recipe. They are fairly cheap, easy to find and will save you a lot of guess work. Meat thermometers won’t work as they don’t register high enough. Be careful when boiling the water and sugar together, that combination over heat produces something akin to sugar-coated napalm. Do not let children do this step alone
Once the sugar and water have been safely boiled together, pour it in a thin stream into the egg mixture while the mixer is running. Do not add it in one large dose, the heat from the sugar will curdle the egg and keep it from mixing smoothly with the sugar. By adding it in a thin stream, it’s both cooling down and tempering the eggs.
At this point, the gelatin and brandy can be re-warmed over a pan of warm, simmering water until smooth and liquid. The gelatin adds froth (also known as that smooth, mousse-like texture) and stability, so it can sit on the table and be cut without melting all over the place. Brandy and pumpkin just taste good together.
Pour the resulting mixture into a pie crust and chill for at least four hours. A quick word about pie crusts: for cold pies, a graham cracker crust is traditional. I like them because they are easy to put together and can be customized to your pie and taste buds. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own crust, feel free to buy one and get on with the rest of your day. Especially prior to a meal like Thanksgiving, when your energy is better spent on other things.
Top the chilled pie with whipped cream and a little cinnamon, serve with champagne to all the people you like best. Happy Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin Mousse Pie
Makes 1 pie
1/4 cup brandy
2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. In a small bowl, place brandy and 2 tablespoons water. Sprinkle gelatin powder over liquid; set aside to soften, 10 minutes.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs on medium-low speed until fluffy.
3. While the mixer is running, combine remaining 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until temperature registers 245 degrees (firm-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.
4. Immediately turn mixer to high speed. Carefully drizzle sugar mixture into eggs in a thin stream; continue to beat until mixture increases in volume and is pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place bowl with softened gelatin over a saucepan of simmering water; stir until gelatin has dissolved.
5. Turn mixer to low; add gelatin mixture to egg mixture. Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, the allspice, ginger, salt, and sour cream; combine. Pour filling into pie crust; refrigerate until set, 4 hours or overnight.
6. To serve, whisk heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl until stiff. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the top of the pie. Sift cinnamon on top. Serve chilled.