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.  

21 thoughts on “The Great Pumpkin Party

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  2. Natalie @ The Devil Wears Parsley

    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?

  3. Christina

    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.

    1. cathyarkle Post author

      Christina, it is Hershey’s Heath Bits O Brickle Baking Pieces. You will find it next to the chocolate chips in the baking section. Here is a link to buy them online as well. Skor is another brand of toffee bits for baking. Don’t use the ones with chocolate or it will burn.

  4. Rona Lewis

    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….

    1. cathyarkle Post author

      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! 🙂

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  6. Leslie Macchiarella

    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!

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