This weekend for the first time ever, we hosted a Friendsgiving celebration.  The idea was new to us and mainly inspired by the fact that we weren’t able to have a pumpkin carving party with our friends this year, but we still really wanted to see everyone.  It was a very low key, informal pitch-in meal with great food and even better company.  Since I’ll be making plenty of traditional Thanksgiving pies this week and everyone else will surely be eating plenty of them as well, I decided to offer a couple of non-traditional dessert options at our party and one was these pumpkin mousse parfaits.  I have been wanting to try this recipe for ages after seeing Ina make it once on her show.  I never really found the right opportunity, so I was thrilled to finally have a chance.

If you’re a pumpkin lover, a mousse lover, or both, you’ll probably love these.  The mousse is lightly sweetened with a nice pumpkin flavor and warm fall spices.  Ben and I both agreed that the gingersnaps crumbled in between the layers of mousse and whipped cream were what really made this dish shine.  If assembled soon before serving, the cookie pieces are still on the crisp size, contributing some variation in texture.  If you make them a bit in advance, the cookies will soften.  I can’t decide which way I prefer.  This whole concept is so highly adaptable – you could layer in candied pecans, maybe a cranberry compote, assemble the whole thing in a full-size trifle dish, or make even smaller cuter mini versions in shot glasses.  Whether you are hosting and want an alternative to the classic pumpkin pie or just want to contribute something unique to the holiday meal you attend, this is a nice option.  Enjoy!


  • ¼ cup dark rum* *If you do not want to use rum, you could use an equal amount of water with a teaspoon or two of rum extract mixed in.
  • 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks** **This dish contains raw eggs. Foods containing raw eggs are not recommended for consumption in pregnant women, children, the elderly, and anyone with an immune deficiency.
  • Pinch of orange zest
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 3-4 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
  • 8-10 chopped gingersnap cookies


  • 01

    Place the rum in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin powder over the top. Let soften for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the pumpkin, sugars, egg yolks, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend.

  • 02

    Place the bowl with the gelatin over a pan of simmering water and heat just until the gelatin has dissolved. Immediately stir into the pumpkin mixture. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Blend in the vanilla. Fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture until no streaks remain. Set aside.

  • 03

    To make the whipped cream, add the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar to the now empty bowl of the mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

  • 04

    Layer the pumpkin mousse in serving dishes with the whipped cream and chopped gingersnaps. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  • These sound unreal! Love this!

  • Those look amazing! I’ll be dreaming about them all day now, haha :) Thanks for sharing Annie!

  • Aw these are so pretty! I really like the mini glass trifle dishes you used.

  • These looks beautiful and delicious, and also thanks for the tips of not using raw egg so what is the best alternative? thanks

  • Um, hi. These look amazing. YOU’RE amazing. Thank you for sharing!

  • I think parfaits are such a fun dish to serve! I loved your idea of serving mini ones in shot glasses – I need to remember that!

  • These look GREAT!!! You’re in trouble! Every time you make something I want wish to add it to my list! I like pumpkin, but I don’t love pumpkin pie. Great alternative! I wouldn’t even mind making a pumpkin mousse pie with gingersnap crust!

  • Oh my! How adorable are those!?

  • Christiana

    This looks DELICIOUS!!

  • Mmmm–I made the same a few weeks ago! Instead of ginger snaps, though, I used Biscoff cookies (which are more cinnamon than ginger) and I think they were phenomenal!

  • I love those little trifle dishes. These are wonderful!

  • Oh Annie I love you and I love your blog so much. These look amazing!

  • looks delicious, and perfect for a friendsgiving! The pairing of the smooth mousse with the crunchy gingersnaps sounds pretty awesome. Also I love your parfait dishes! Great job Annie, you have very lucky friends!

  • I love this idea! As much as I enjoy pumpkin pie, I always find that I could do without the crust. This is the perfect solution!

  • Sharla

    What a perfect holiday dessert. Do you mind sharing where you got those perfect trifle dishes?

  • I can only imagine… Soft smooth silky pumpkin mousse… with crunchy sweet chewy sticky ginger snaps… Perfect bow for the end of the stage.

  • These look delicious! I especially like the ginger snaps because I love pumpkin and ginger together; I always add some ground ginger to my pumpkin pies.

  • Annie

    Crate & Barrel.

  • Andrea

    This is soooo funny!!!! My husband chose the type of dessert this year and this was the recipe i found to use this week!!!! You cant go wrong w an Ina recipe and look forward to trying it!

  • Gorgeous idea. I love minis!

  • gah. these look SO GOOD. also, would you mind sharing the stats on the printed fabric in the shoot?

    husband and i are currently living in india. can’t wait to be living in a country that a) celebrates thanksgiving and b) has ingredients with which i know how to cook/ bake/ create things. there’s always next year, right? ….

  • I just found your blog via Pinterest and I LOVE it! You have such great ideas, recipes and photos. I’m looking forward to reading through all the recipes!

  • Gorgeous use of pumpkin, and I love the idea of including ginger snaps – can imagine the spice just lifts the dessert to a new level. Yum yum yum!

  • Annie

    I believe it was a random scrap I grabbed at Joann’s.

  • Dear Annie,
    Leave it to Ina and you Annie for coming up with a perfect Thanksgiving dessert ! I need to try this ! Thanks !

  • Amy Chan

    This looks amazing! Were the gingersnap cookies homemade? If so, can you post the recipe? I wasn’t able to find it on your blog.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Annie

    Yes they were but I haven’t blogged about them yet.

  • Jenny

    Annie, I wish I would have made your orange zest change. I made the original which calls for 2 teaspoons of orange zest. I would have liked it better with less.

  • jessica pw

    I saw this recipe in a magazine Ina was in recently and made it today for Thanksgiving. it was SOOOOO GOOOOOD! Never made mousse before and it is now my fav dessert for thanksgiving! My husband’s grandmother asked “is there rum in here?” I totally forgot it did but since she doesn’t like alcohol but she ate it all!