So have you reached your annual pumpkin spice saturation point yet?
I really hope not.
Because if you are a lover of this classic fall flavor favorite, you will want to be sitting in front of this with a spoon in each hand: STAT.
A luxurious larder of lush heavy cream, whipped until irresistibly fluffy and folded into a cinnamon spice scented base of slightly sweetened pureed pumpkin and silky ricotta cheese, layered with crushed chocolate wafer cookies (made mocha-fied with the addition of some instant coffee crystals) that just get better as they soften and meld together in the refrigerator. YUM.
No bake, no fuss, rich and creamy, pure pumpkin-spice perfection.
Are you feelin’ me? This is one super easy, decidedly decadent dessert for all you PSL lovers out there…..and you know who you are.
Start with that box of plain old chocolate wafer cookies you see down there in the corner. Put about eight of them into a partially sealed heavy-duty freezer bag and whack them up into smithereens with a rolling-pin (or whatever you may have that will do the job…be creative!). Just give them a good bashing until you end up with pulverized cookie crumbs, basically. We’ll get back to those in a minute.
In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling, just plain old regular canned pumpkin) 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar and two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice*. Get everybody nicely incorporated here, and set aside.
*Wait…. you don’t have any pumpkin pie spice (whaaaat?) hidden back there in the spice cabinet? Okay, you can use straight cinnamon instead, and I won’t tell anyone. Maybe you are feeling your inner Martha and want to make your very own batch of actual pumpkin pie spice mix? Oh, heck yeah, it is so super easy, check it out here (that’s what I did…and I’m feeling pretty good about it). Simplest culinary DIY ever!
Now into a large mixing bowl goes one pint of heavy whipping cream. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar and give this a good beat down until it is light and fluffy. This should only take a couple of minutes. Once that is looking luscious scoop out (and remove) a very generous cup of this angelic cloud of yum and park that away in the refrigerator. For now we’ll be working with what’s left in the bowl.
Combine the pumpkin mixture with the whipped cream you have left waiting for you in your original bowl. Just turn on the mixer (or your hand-held beaters, if that happens to be your beater of choice) to low for a few seconds to start the blending action, then get out a rubber scraper to finish folding everybody gently together by hand (so you don’t over whip or deflate your cream).
Once your pumpkin mixture is looking uniformly orange, it’s time to assemble! If you want to be extra fancy, go on and scrape that mousse out into a large zip lock style baggie. Push it all down to one corner of the bag, and snip a good half-inch or so off the bottom of one corner. Now you can make like a seasoned pastry chef, and use that baggie to cleanly pipe your moussie mixture down into individual portions.
Remember those crushed cookies?
To get that lovely little coffee kick going on in this dessert add about a tablespoon of instant coffee to that bag of cookie crumbs, and shake that around a bit.
Now if you’re not so much into the java vibe, or for real you just don’t happen to have any instant coffee on hand (and who does really….except me….I had these handy dandy Nescafé singles who knows from where!!!), then do not sweat it…you will have stunning results either way.
So go ahead and sprinkle half of your cookie crumbles (caffeinated or not) over the top of your pumpkin mousse……
and then pipe over a schmear of that whipped cream that you have saved in the Frigidaire! Yep, I popped that into a baggie and used the same zip lock tricks! Sprinkle the remainder of your cookie crumbles over the tops, and into the chiller they go.
Pretty, huh? But wait! As cute as these may be you can actually simplify your life by schlooping everything into one serving bowl.
Simply spread the mousse into a 1-1/2 qt (or thereabouts) serving dish. Sprinkle half of those crushed chocolate cookies over that. Plop out fat dollops of your reserved whipped cream over the cookie layer.
Carefully spread the cream out. It helps to keep the spatula (or back of spoon, or whatever you are using) in a continual, even spreading motion, as if you were smearing icing on a sheet cake. If you lift it up, UP comes the cookie layer with it, and you’ll get yourself in a bit of a pickle….. so commit to the swipe like a windshield wiper and give it a confident swoop. Once you’ve got that all evenly spread out top it off with the remainder of those crushed cookies. Cover this beauty with some plastic wrap and into the refrigerator it goes for some chilling time.
And serve it up, family style! Not too sweet, not too “squashie”- ish, kissed with a bit of a mocha crumble goodness, this creamy concoction will pump you up over pumpkin spice.
As if you needed the encouragement.
RECIPE BELOW: You may spend a whole twenty minutes putting this together, and that’s if you’re really pokey. Let it chill at least an hour. This makes about six servings, and for the sake of easy I usually plop it all down into one serving dish. If you want to get fancy you can always layer this out into individual dessert bowls, or try some fun martini glasses like I did. Instant portion control! Not a bad idea with this stuff. So addictive you should be required to have an Rx to eat it!
- 1 Pint heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 7 tablespoons powdered sugar (3 for the whipping cream and 4 for the pumpkin mixture)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 8 chocolate wafer cookies (like Nabisco), finely crushed
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- Crush 8 chocolate wafer cookies together with the instant coffee, set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the pureed pumpkin, ricotta cheese, pumpkin pie spice and 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar until smooth and well incorporated.
- Beat the heavy cream along with the vanilla and 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar, until soft peaks form. TIP: pop your bowl into the freezer for about ten minutes before you begin. The colder everything is, the easier and faster the whipping will be.
- Remove a very generous cup of the whipped cream (this will be the topping), set this aside in the refrigerator.
- Turn the pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream mixture bowl. Blend this on low for a few seconds with the mixer or beaters, and then gently fold everything together by hand, so as not to over-work the cream.
- Turn this mixture into a 1-1/2 quart size baking dish, and spread out evenly. Sprinkle this layer with half of the crushed cookies.
- Spread the cup of reserved plain whipping cream over the cookie crumbs. Do this by spooning out dollops of the cream, and then spreading it out in a continuous motion with a spatula or back of a spoon. Try not to lift it up until you have a nice even layer.*
- Sprinkle the remaining chocolate cookie crumbs evenly over the top and cover with saran wrap.
- Let this chill for at least an hour, the longer the better.
- OR....scrape the mousse mixture into a large zip lock baggie and use it to "pipe" into individual serving bowls. Sprinkle with half of the cookie crumbles. Place the reserved whipped cream in another baggie and use that in the same way to pipe over the topping. Dust with the leftover chocolate cookie dust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.