Dish of the Week: Pumpkin Mousse

Switch out pumpkin pie for light and airy mousse.
Switch out pumpkin pie for light and airy mousse.

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we’re bringing you a new take on a classic Thanksgiving flavor with pumpkin mousse.

The French word for “foam,” “moss” or “froth,” "mousse" denotes a light and airy mixture made with whipped egg whites or cream. While many think of the silky dish as a dessert (as seen in this chocolate variety), the technique of whipping egg whites and cream lends itself to a world of flavors. In fact, it was a savory cuisine when it first hit the culinary scene in 18th-century France.

Whatever you add, the egg whites must be beaten to a soft peak before being gently folded with the remaining ingredients. That way, you can ensure the result is as light and luscious as ever.

This Thanksgiving, why not switch up the traditional pumpkin pie by making a decadent pumpkin mousse instead? This recipe, from Saveur, adds an extra kick by incorporating warm spices and a splash of bourbon (it is a holiday, after all). 

Bourbon Pumpkin Mousse

Ingredients serves 4-6
3/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp. bourbon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
8 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 cup canned pumpkin
Orange zest, for garnish
Optional: fresh whipped cream topping 

Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Place a medium metal bowl over pan, and add sugar, bourbon, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and egg yolks; whisk together, and cook, whisking constantly until thickened and pale, about 6 minutes.
Remove from the heat and set bourbon mixture aside.

In another bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form; add canned pumpkin, and fold until almost combined. Add to warm bourbon mixture and fold together until smooth.

Divide among serving glasses and sprinkle with orange zest; serve immediately with whipped cream (if using).

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