Creativity I believe is an essential part of a well balanced life. So many of us believe that creativity has to do with art, music, cooking, but it also can be the way you handle stress, maybe problem solve, work effectively. With creativity comes maybe some performance anxiety, thoughts run through your head like is it going to be good, what will people think, and will I just blank out and not create at all. For us in the food blogger world being able to create different recipes, stage a good photo shoot, and write a beautiful story about how it came to be are essentials, and doing this without the expectation of audience outcome, fame, and monetary means can be very difficult. Do you remember as a child in school and you were doing an art project very seldom did I think about what people were going to think, will I become famous, am I going to be rich. I was only excited to work with different media and bring to life some of the things that were floating in my mind and there were a lot lol! All and all I think what I learned from that is to just start, don't think too much and be surprised at what comes of it. Bruce Lee once said "Don't think or you will miss some of the heavenly glory." I have found this thought to be so true. So without further ado here goes today's recipe and story with pictures, inspired by the season and seasonal ingredients and the courage to be daring and use some ingredients which pop into your mind out of no where, and with my beautiful wife Nicoletta we called this recipe Pumpkin Spice Mascarpone Mousse with Ginger Molasses Cookies. Starring: pumpkin, various spices, whip cream, and mascarpone cheese, with a a guest appearance from the hit recipe Ginger Molasses Cookies.
Fall is such a colorful time of the year and prepares us for the mundane colors of winter. It is like the finale of a fireworks display, the last hoorah, and the calm that comes after that. The seasonal produce consisting of pumpkin, squash, beets and last bits of greens have us thinking new ideas of sweet and savory, comfort foods, desserts and different ways to prepare them. Well, we were having some friends over for dinner and one of them is gluten intolerant. So we were thinking of ideas for the meal and also the dessert, many ideas went back and forth between Nicoletta and I but we finally decided that pumpkin was going to be the ingredient we will work with and a mousse would be nice and light, a great end to the courses of cheese and olives, mac and yease, a beautiful white wine, herb roasted chicken, and a wonderful salad with crunchy micro greens lettuce and a light honey, fruity vinaigrette.
The key to a good mousse in my opinion is of course flavor, but also the airiness and smoothness of the mousse, keeping the creamy into the mix. I was thinking of what spices to use with the pumpkin puree and I came up with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, and a spice I love and use in various ways, cardamon. Speaking of cardamon I use it in making luscious chai teas, I even put some in flavored coffees I make, blending it with the coffee grounds, I know a lot of people say "say what!" but the hint of it in a freshly brewed coffee is amazing and the smell of that coffee wafting in the early morning air would wake anyone up in a good way. The blend of these spices together are out of this world, not to mention the aroma which puts you into a festive spirit. The ground ginger gives a bit of bite leaving your taste buds tingling with delight, the cinnamon and nutmeg reminders of Thanksgiving and Christmas and comforts of pumpkin pie, apple pie, cinnamon rolls yum and yummy!, the cardamon, with its exotic uplifts. The beaten egg whites and whip cream, allow this mousse to be lite giving the richness of the marscarpone its due diligence without the heaviness, who doesn't love whip cream, and of course the star of the show pumpkin puree smooth rich in flavor pulling the mousse together in a bite after bite delight.
Nicoletta's ginger molasses cookies gave this dessert another level of taste and texture. Composing this art piece was fun, Nicoletta and I crumbling cookies with hug and kiss breaks in between which happens in our kitchen a lot and you know what they say your dish is only as good as the energy you put into it. I guess we forgot to put that in the list of ingredients and preparation lol. Then with a piping bag beautiful layer of whip cream, and with another piping bag full of that wonderful spiced pumpkin mascarpone mixture goes down for another layer, some more delicious crumbled cookies and more whip cream and pumpkin mixture topped with some cocoa power and a nice wedge of the ginger molasses cookie and time, the buzzer sounds, hands in the air, dessert complete and a sigh along with well dones echoing in the air. The only thing left is the tasting and the judges panel, our guests, my son Joel and probably the toughest judges of all, ourselves.
The votes are in and Yes! We nailed it! It is so nice to watch as people are tasting what you made, the anticipation, facial gestures and that look when something tastes so good and eyes go soft, face relaxes, mmmmmmm's coming from the depths of their bellies, then eyes widen in the excitement of the next spoonful.
It was a great evening with our friends and family, something Nicoletta and I are so grateful for, so thank you Elizabeth and Jason and Joel for sharing this with us. That's what life is about.
Recipe adapted from Foodie Crush.Print
- 3 eggs, whites and yolks separated
- ½ cup sugar, divided
- 8 ounce container of mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (about 7 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 4 ginger molasses cookies, crumbled
- cocoa powder for dusting
- Divide egg whites from egg yolks and put whites in a medium bowl and yolks in a large heatproof bowl. Add ¼ cup sugar to whites and ¼ cup to yolks.
- Place bowl of egg yolks over a double boiler or saucepan filled with boiling water. Cook over boiling water for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Blend pumpkin puree, spices and mascarpone until combined well. Add to bowl of yolks and mix well.
- Beat whites until stiff peaks form. Add to pumpkin and egg yolk mixture a little at a time, folding whites in gently until combined. Repeat until whites are completely incorporated.
- Whip cream until light and fluffy. Add whip cream to a pastry bag. Add pumpkin mascarpone mixture to another pastry bag.
- Crumble cookies into chunks. Place few crumbles to bottom of 6 glasses.
- Pipe a layer of whip cream over cookies, then a layer of pumpkin mixture, then another layer of cookies, then another layer of whip cream and pumpkin mixture. Garnish with a quarter piece of cookie and a dusting of cocoa powder.
- Place in the fridge to set for about 1 hour.
- Remove from the fridge a few minutes before serving.
- Serving Size: 6-8 servings in medium/big glasses
You are probably wondering where did that come from? That does not look like a mousse, it looks like a meringue pie. Well you are right lol. We had quite a bit of the pumpkin spice mascarpone mixture leftover and you know how I have so many creative ideas in my mind. I thought why not try a spiced Pumpkin Mascarpone Meringue Pie. We had a pie crust left in the freezer, the left over pumpkin spice mixture and I whipped up some egg whites and sugar and into the oven till egg white topping gets crispy and golden brown. So there you have it, another great dessert idea. This we brought and shared at a dinner with my parents. My father who has quite a sweet tooth enjoyed it immensely, my mother a tough critic ate two pieces, my son a foodie and restaurant guru loved it as well, along with the rest of us. Thanks to Earths General Store for the wonderful Organic Pumpkin puree, Strathcona Farmers Market and Sunrise Farms for the fresh free range chicken eggs, and the Italian Center Shop for the wonderful Mascarpone cheese and whip cream, the world and culture for delightful and exotic spices, and most of all thank you Amoree for those amazing ginger molasses cookies. So that brings us to the end of our story and recipe of Pumpkin Spice Mascarpone Mousse with Ginger Molasses Cookies.
Credits fading to: Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight."
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