Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart

What was your favorite part of Thanksgiving? I love so much about T-day that it's hard to choose. First, the Macy's Day Parade I love love love this. You should know, I was the president of the marching band in high school. Yes, I was that cool. People, I LOVE a marching band. Don't get me started. When I lived in Boston one time my friend and I were wandering around one weekend and I heard the familiar cadence of a marching band and immediately we were on the hunt from the source of this sweet sound. As my good friend Gretchen says, "I've always been this cool." I like me.

Ok back to the best parts of Thanksgiving. Obviously, visiting with friends and family. Oh, and the wine needed to participate in said visit. I kid, I kid. But seriously, get some white wine in the fridge before I come over. Pinot Gris please or a dry Riesling.

The other thing I love is the food. Homemade cranberry sauce, I die. Stuffing, shut your mouth I love this stuff. You all know Joel's favorite part is the quick bread.

True story, my mother's dog ate the pumpkin loaf. this year in a covert operation. Joel was sad. End of story.

Anyway, the best part of Thanksgiving in my world. The dessert! As you all know, I love pumpkin and pie is the obvious choice. But, pumpkin pie is dense and a little too much. A few years ago I rolled out this Barefoot Contessa Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart recipe and loved it to the moon and back. So this year I dusted it off and did it again. Add some freshly whipped cream and you can die and go to heaven.

It's the holiday and it's a rule that your whipped cream is 2/3 the volume as your dessert. It's a rule, look it up.

This is such a delicious dessert and a fun take on the more traditional pumpkin pie. The banana adds a depth and interest and the mousse's light and airy texture is perfect. I prefer this to regular pumpkin pie. Also, graham cracker crust. Enough said. It's amazing. Ina know's what she's doing. I did tweek it ever so slightly, less sugar and fat free half and half. At the end of the day if you're going to make a mousse you have to first have whipped cream and you have to use heavy cream. There's no way around it. It's well worth the calories so just do it.

Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
Serves 10


For the crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 whole crackers)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup fat free half-and-half
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 ripe banana, finely mashed
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a bowl. Then press into a tart pan. Bake pan for 10 minutes in oven and then set aside to cool. 

To prepare the filling set up a double boiler with a sauce pan with an inch of simmering water and a heat proof bowl on top. Heat the half and half, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. This took me about 10 minutes. In a small bowl whisk egg yolks and then temper with the hot pumpkin mixture. To do this, add a small amount of the hot filling into the eggs and stir to help gently raise the egg's temperature and avoid scrambling eggs. Once tempered add yolks to the double boiler. Heat for 5 minutes or until the filling start to thicken. 

In a small bowl dissolve the gelatin in a 1/4 cup of cold water. Add the orange zest and banana to gelatin. Combine with pumpkin mixture and allow time to cool. 

Mix the heavy cream and sugar with hand mixer until soft peaks form. This takes a few minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into cooled pumpkin mixture. Pour mixture into crust. Cool in refrigerator for a few hours or over night.

Serve with mounds of freshly whipped cream. 


  1. nice tablecloth and dishes!!! mom

  2. oh mother, and you loved the dessert. :)