I’m always fascinated by food customs in different countries. Take pumpkin, for example. Here in New Zealand it’s pretty much a savoury vegetable we serve with our Saturday night roasts. And that’s about it.
In America and Canada, on the other hand, pumpkin clearly holds a special place and shows up pretty much every which way. And, of course, it’s a staple component of Halloween and Thanksgiving, both of which we don’t really celebrate. Don’t get me wrong… we do love our pumpkin, but it’s fair to say that it virtually never shows up as a sweet dish. Hence the reason we don’t find canned pumpkin puree on supermarket shelves – there’s just no call for it.
I think it’s quite unfortunate actually, as having made a couple of sweet pumpkin desserts now (like this Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe, or this Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake), I really think we’re missing out.
So, with Thanksgiving on its way, I thought it was the perfect time to embrace the pumpkin again. And, I found this nice little recipe from Domino Sugar.com which pairs spiced pumpkin with cream cheese, whipped cream and ginger biscuits.
The original recipe was for four US cup sized servings. As I wanted to feed five people in metric cup serving glasses (a little larger than US cup size), I doubled the recipe, thinking that cup sized servings weren’t that big. As it turns out, my eyes were definitely bigger than my belly, as the dessert was pretty rich and most of us found it rather challenging to get through it all. So, actually, the original recipe would have been fine for the five of us. But, if you have six or more people to feed, I suggest you definitely double the recipe (as I have in my recipe below).
All that aside, it was a really enjoyable dessert. I loved the light and creamy mousse-like pumpkin and cream cheese (that doesn’t overpower it) mixture with its hint of warming spices. It contrasted beautifully with the crunchy ginger biscuits – always the perfect partner to pumpkin. By the way, I made my own gluten-free gingernut biscuits which worked an absolute treat.
It only remains for me to wish all my American and Canadian readers a ‘Happy Thanksgiving’!
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 250g (8.8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
- 60g (2.2 oz) brown or dark muscovado sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (either canned or pureed from about 800g (28 oz) roasted pumpkin)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 200g (7 oz) gingernut/ginger snap biscuits, broken into pieces (I used gluten-free home-made gingernuts)*
- Pour cream, 4 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla into a bowl and beat until it reaches soft peak stage (don't over-mix!). Place in refrigerator until needed.
- In another large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese.
- Gradually add the brown sugar, and mix until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and beat until combined. (NB: At this point, if you have roasted your own pumpkin, I strongly suggest you pass the mixture through a sieve to ensure it's nice and smooth).
- Using a large spatula, gently fold in 1/3 portion of the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture until just combined. (If making ahead, store this mixture in the fridge until needed).
- Add some broken biscuits into six to eight serving glasses. Dollop over some of the pumpkin mixture and then some of the whipped cream. Repeat once or twice depending on the size of the glass and how many you're serving. Garnish with extra biscuit crumbs, if desired.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting