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!

  • Yield 8-10 servings


  • 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.