The Great Pumpkin Party

Photography by Cathy Nelson Arkle

I have been waiting all year for Fall to arrive in Los Angeles, along with “The Great Pumpkin” from Charlie Brown. Surely the Great Pumpkin descended upon numerous food bloggers Saturday, inspiring many wonderful pumpkin dishes that were not only beautiful to photograph, but delicious to sample. And that is what we did, in that order of course.

Here are some of the pumpkin dishes.
Check link at bottom of blog for all the pumpkin recipes.  

Photography by Cathy Nelson ArklePhotography by Cathy Nelson Arkle
Sugar, spice and everything nice are blended in to this pumpkin spice cake and muffins.

Photography by Cathy Nelson ArklePhotography by Cathy Nelson Arkle
Food bloggers love to take photos. Leslie (Bake This Cake) snaps a closeup, and Susan (The Home Artist) styles her soup for a great shot.

Photography By Cathy Nelson ArklePhotography By Cathy Nelson Arkle
Check out the table of goodies for indulgence. Special thanks to Rashmi (Yum Kid) for opening up her home for the event.

photography by Cathy Nelson ArklePhotography by cathy nelson arkle
From savory to sweet, every means of utilizing pumpkins was used.

Photography by Cathy Nelson ArkleCathy Nelson Arkle photography
Patti (Worth the Wisk) provides an action shot for eager photographers Dorothy (Shockingly Delicious) and Neha (Much More than a Homemaker).

Today’s Recipe

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to make something that combined two of my favorite Fall ingredients – pumpkin and cranberries.

Making this treat in mini dessert glasses helps everyone with portion control, and looks oh so impressive. You can buy the mini dessert glasses at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

photography by Cathy Nelson ArklePhotography by Cathy Nelson Arkle
Start the recipe by making a simple toffee brittle, then mixing whip cream with pumpkin and spices. You can make the cran-raspberry sauce in advance and freeze. The leftover sauce is also great on ice cream.

Photography by Cathy Nelson ArkleAssembly of these festive desserts is a bit messy, but well worth the effort. I suggest using a piping bag to fill the glasses with pumpkin. Make your own by using a plastic bag with a corner cut off.

Note: You can make this dessert ahead of time and freeze it, which makes this great for transporting to a party.  You can also double the recipe and make it in a trifle bowl.

Pumpkin Mousse with Toffee Crunch and Cran-Raspberry Sauce
Recipe type: Dessert
These delicious mini pumpkin parfaits will be the highlight of any Thanksgiving dessert table. This recipe will make approx. 15 mini desserts depending on the size of your glasses. If using full portions (4 oz.) it will make 6 desserts.
Toffee Crunch
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 package baking toffee bits (such as Heath or Skor, in the baking section next to chocolate chips)
  • 8 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1¾ cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1¼ cups canned pure pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 package fresh or frozen cranberries (12 oz)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1 package frozen raspberries (12 oz)
For Toffee Crunch:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; brush generously with vegetable oil. Toss toffee bits, sugar, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add butter and toss to coat. Place mixture in center of prepared sheet; pat to single layer. Bake until toffee bits are soft (but retain shape), about 8-10 minutes. Watch closely as this will burn quickly. Cool crunch completely on sheet. Transfer to work surface; chop coarsely, saving bigger pieces for topping the dessert.
For Pumpkin Mousse:
  1. Whisk ¾ cup whipping cream, sugar, and egg yolks in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Stir over medium-low heat until thickened to pudding consistency, about 10 minutes (do not boil). Transfer mixture to large bowl. Mix in pumpkin, rum, vanilla, ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and allspice. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.
  2. Beat remaining 1 cup cream in another large bowl until cream holds peaks. Fold remaining whipped cream into pumpkin mixture. Cover and refrigerate mousse at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
For Cran-Raspberry Sauce:
  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add cranberries and vinegar and return to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in raspberries during the last few minutes. Pour sauce into a bowl, cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble dessert. This can be made in advance and frozen. Defrost before assembling dessert.
To Assemble Dessert:
  1. In each mini dish, add approximately 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce. Pipe or drop dollop of mousse in each goblet, then add 1 teaspoon of toffee crunch. Top with more pumpkin mousse. Cover; refrigerate or freeze overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Garnish with big Toffee Crunch pieces.

Photo of the Week

Great pumpkins I spotted at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market last week.

Quote of the Week

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” – 
Jim Davis

I second that.
…and then she paused for thought.  

About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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21 Responses to The Great Pumpkin Party

  1. Natalie @ The Devil Wears Parsley October 23, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Look at all the pumpkin!!! I haven’t gotten enough of pumpkin yet this fall, but did go to Waffle on Sunset Strip this past Saturday, and had pumpkin waffles with pumpkin mousse. I desperately wanted to re-create the whole dish too, and the pumpkin mousse was eluding me! It eludes me no longer! Thank you!!

    I notice quite a few peeps from Camp Blogaway.. What event were you at?

    • cathyarkle October 23, 2012 at 10:09 am #

      Thanks Natalie. I can’t believe you were in LA and didn’t come the the Food Bloggers LA Monthly meeting! Hit Like on the FB page so you can find out when they are. You would love them!

      • Natalie @ The Devil Wears Parsley October 23, 2012 at 10:22 am #

        We go out there quite often for shows, and more recently for tattoo time! 🙂 I knew about FBLA, but it eludes me, much like pumpkin mousse! Haha Now they’re both found! Thanks again!

  2. Cheri Cameron Newell October 23, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Now you’re talkin’ my language… everything sweet with the yummy taste of pumpkin! YUM! Everything looks awesome!

  3. Christina October 23, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Cathy, I have a question: when you say to use toffee bits, is that plain toffee (not covered in chocolate, right?) because you mention Heath, but I thought that only comes with chocolate.

  4. Rona Lewis October 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    I’m having a sugar high reading the recipe, but I LOVE pumpkin anything!! I think I will have to make my chicken with pumpkin recipe tomorrow!! All the dishes looked so beautiful. I need to take a class with Denise Vivaldi and learn how to do all that….

  5. Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen October 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    Wow this pumpkin mousse looks incredible!! I soo wish I could try some! Wonderful recipe, I have not seen anything like it =)

    • cathyarkle October 25, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

      Thanks Kristi! It started out as one recipe and morphed into another at the last minute. And you know that can make the recipe a hit or miss. At the party is seemed to be a hit, so I was very happy! 🙂

  6. Fresh Food in a Flash October 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    This Pumpkin Mousse was the hit of the party. I am DEFINITELY making this one. Cathy, thanks so much for the recipe…and your food styling was superb!

    • cathyarkle October 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

      Thanks Patricia! It was a lot of fun to throw together. Enjoy!

  7. Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy October 27, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    I especially love how you used different shapes of glass. Much more interesting than everything matching.

  8. Leslie Macchiarella October 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    I am still feeling the taste of your creamy mousse on the tip of my tongue with that lovely hit of dark rum…and the cranberry and raspberry sauce with that gorgeous toffee crunch…WOW! What a clever girl! P.S. I adore your photographs!

  9. Nan November 13, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Oh my, I’ll have one of each! Rona you piqued my interest by mentioning the chicken pumpkin recipe. Sounds yummy.

  10. Lentil Breakdown November 27, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Gorgeous! Last night I decided I might just try to whip up some pumpkin something-something in little ramekins to make a gluten-free dessert, but you’ve given me some great add-on ideas!


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