Pumpkin Mousse Parfait

Pumpkin Mousse Parfait

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Servings: 8 to 10

Ina Garten is always looking for holiday desserts that aren’t the usual pumpkin and pecan pies, and besides, who really likes to make pie crust? She decided to make a pumpkin mousse and layer it with whipped cream and chopped ginger cookies. She says, “It certainly wasn’t the worst dessert I’d ever invented.”


For the ultimate ginger cookies:

  • 2 1/4 cups (11 1/2 oz./360 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup (7 oz./220 g) lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (3.75 oz./115 g) unsulfured molasses
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 oz./185 g) chopped crystallized ginger
  • Granulated sugar for rolling the cookies

For the sweetened whipped cream:

  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) cold heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the pumpkin mousse parfait:

  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) dark rum
  • 1 packet (2 tsp.) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 can (15 oz./470 g) pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) cold heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Crystallized ginger for garnish (optional)


  • To make the ginger cookies, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.
  • Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch (4.5-cm) ball and then flatten them slightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a minute or two, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. The recipe makes 16 cookies; you will need 8 to 10 cookies, chopped, for the parfait.
  • To make the sweetened whipped cream, whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don’t overbeat!
  • To make the pumpkin mousse parfait, place the rum in a heat-proof bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Set aside for 10 minutes for the gelatin to soften
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg yolks, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set the bowl of gelatin over a pan of simmering water and cook until the gelatin is clear. Immediately whisk the hot gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and vanilla on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture.
  • To assemble, spoon some of the pumpkin mixture into parfait glasses, add a layer of whipped cream, then some chopped cookies. Repeat, ending with a third layer of pumpkin. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. To serve, decorate with whipped cream and slivered crystallized ginger. Serves 8 to 10.
  • Note: For the cookies, you want the dry crystallized ginger, not the wet one. If you measure the oil before the molasses, the molasses won’t stick to the measuring cup.
  • Recipes reprinted from Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You'll Make Over and Over Again. Copyright © 2006 by Ina Garten. Copyright © 2006 by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.