Pumpkin Mousse Torte


This recipe contains raw egg yolk and as such may not be the best choice for the elderly or very young. Although, I haven’t tried it, I can’t think of a reason the egg yolk can’t be omitted and still have a good dessert.

Pumpkin Mousse Torte I can’t even remember when we started making these at the bakery.  I do remember it took many tries to get the amount of gelatin just right so it would keep it firm but not turn rubbery, a sure sign of too much.  But I can sure tell you we sold hundreds and hundreds.

As popular as it was with my clients, I don’t think anyone could love this more than my grandson, Sam.  I do remember we had gone to Chicago to take care of him for a few days so his parents could have a weekend get-a-way.  Sam was still in a high chair and was a hugely picky eater – something that dismayed all of us. In an attempt to get something into him, I gave him a bite of my pumpkin mousse.  Well, that sure opened the floodgates!  I couldn’t scoop the dessert into a spoon and offload it into his mouth fast enough.  He barely swallowed and his mouth would fly open again for another bite.  He reminded me of baby birds being fed by their moms!  Sam even requested it for his 7th birthday cake.  Not an unusual request, except it was July in St. Louis.  Hot, hot, hot and humid!   Did I mention it was outdoors?

This is a very straight forward recipe with little to trip you up.  Just make sure everything for the pumpkin mousse is at room temperature.  Then the warm gelatin needs to be poured in a steady stream while the mixer is running.  If the pumpkin mixture is cold, the gelatin can immediately set forming undesireable rubbery blobs.  Very unappetizing!

A cheesecake pan is, as always, my recommendation over a springform pan.

A reader brought to my attention the need to do something with the leftover pumpkin. If you go  Streusel Topped Pumpkin Muffins  and you make  1 1/2 times the recipe you will use the remaining 3/4 can of pumpkin.  If you are a tad short, that’s fine.  They also freeze beautifully. 

CrustCrust ingredients for the Pumpkin Mousse Torte1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs*
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray the bottom of a 9″ cheesecake or springform  pan with Pam or a similar releasing agent.  Set aside.

*9 double graham crackers (I used  Nabisco Graham Originals – this equals one of the 3 cellophane wrapped units) or use bought crushed crumbs.

If using whole crackers, crush them  between your hands and put then in the bowl of the food processor.  Process to crumbs, but do not turn it to a powder.  Add the brown sugar and pulse several times to mix well. Transfer to a bowl. If using purchased crumbs, add the crumbs and brown sugar to a bowl and mix together. I use my hand to do this.Brown sugar and graham cracker crumbs for Pumpkin Mousse TorteCrumbs mixedWhichever method you are using, add the butter to the crumbs and sugarButter in and stir with a fork until all of the crumbs are equally moistened.  Or just use your hand.Mixing Butter in crumbs Pour the crumbs into the pan Crumbs in panand spread out evenly.Crumbs spread outPress them in evenly and  firmly into the bottom.Pressing into bottomPress in well around the edges using your finger tips.Pressing in edges

Tp keep the edges even, I press them down with the tip of a spoon.  Pressing edges with spoonBaked crustBake for 10 minutes; remove from oven.Baked CrustCream Cheese LayerCheesecake ingred.

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cut cream cheese into 4 or 5 pieces and place in the food processor. Cream cheese in processor Process until smooth;Cream Cheese processed add the sugar and vanilla.  sugar;vanilla inand process until smooth; scrape down as necessary.  Add the eggs andeggs in process until smooth. Cream cheese eggs mixedMake sure you scrap really well as often there is unmixed cream cheese lurking around.  Put it back into the processor and process until smooth.Cream cheese on spatulaCheesecake layer mixedPour over the crumb crust in the pan.pouring over crustand bake for 20 to 25 minutes until set.  It should not color.  It will be puffy when it comes from the oven but flatten out after a few minutes.  Cool completely before proceeding.Cheese layer baked

Mixer Method
If you use a mixer, mix the cheese and sugar until very light and smooth.  Scrape down often.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing each time until the egg is completely absorbed.  Scrape down often.  Lastly add the vanilla.  It is important to scrape down and mix completely at each point as once lumps occur it is very difficult to get them out which is why I prefer the processor – no lumps ever.

Cool completely before going to the next step.

Pumpkin MoussePumpkin mousse ingred.1 tablespoon gelatin
5 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (usually says 40% cream)
1 1/4 pounds canned pumpkin (1 can plus 1/4 of another)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Combine the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl.Gelatin in water  Stir well.Gelatin bloomedSet aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream with a whisk attachment if possible until fairly stiff peaks form.Cream whippedCream whipping

To keep the cream from flying everywhere when beating on high, cover the mixer with a towel.Mixer coveredRemove the cream to another bowl.

In the same mixing bowl in which the cream was beaten, add all of the remaining ingredients except the gelatin.  P Mousse ingred. in mixerBeat on low speed until completely mixed. Pumpkin beating Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds to liquefy.  With the mixer going, pour the gelatin in a steady stream; beat 1 to 2 minutes to make sure the gelatin is completely mixed in.Pumpkin with gelatin

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the whipped cream.Whipped cream in pumpkin

Whipped cream foldingWhipped cream folded inPour over the cream cheese layer.P Mousse in pan Smooth the topSmoothing the moussePumpkin smoothed

and refrigerate overnight.  The next day release the torte by heating the outer sides of the pan with a hair blower and transfer to a serving plate or cardboard round. See Apple Crisp Cheesecake for how to photos.

1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons chopped, toasted pecans

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment if possible until stiff peaks form.  Pipe around the top edge of the torte with a #5 open star tip in a running e pattern. Piping 1Piping 2Sprinkle the whipped cream with the pecans.  Nuts onCompleted TorteStore in the refrigerator.

To Make Ahead:  Do not finish with the whipped cream.  Freeze the Pumpkin Mousse in its’ pan.  When it is frozen, cover tightly with foil and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.  Release it while still frozen (see “Removing Sides of Cheesecake Pan” in the Technique Section).  Finish with the whipped cream as above and store in the refrigerator a day or two before serving.  I was surprised how long it took to thaw in the refrigerator so don’t short the time.

Store in the refrigerator.

Sam’s Big Bite!Sam's big bite

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21 thoughts on “Pumpkin Mousse Torte

  1. Becca Morris

    Hi Helen, I love seeing your recipes on pinterest. I hope you are doing well. This is one of my favorite desserts from the bakery. Do you know where I could get a cheesecake pan like the ones we had?

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Becca: Really, really happy to hear from you. Saw a photo of you recently and you looked so very happy. And all grown up!!! Kitchen Conservatory at 8021 Clayton Rd. It is a block east of the Galleria on Clayton Road. You want a 9×3 inch cheesecake pan with a removable bottom. I think they have one with a solid bottom.

      Kristy and I have emailed on occasion and I want you to know I am so very, very proud of you. And Sophie is so cute.

  2. Pingback: Pumpkin Mousse Torte – Pastries Like a Pro » webindex24.ch - News aus dem Web

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Jean – Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Last week both my server and WordPress were down. When we finally got things running again I didn’t get the blog up until Saturday. Unfortunately, it looks like I didn’t proof read very well.

      The answer is 9 inch.

  3. Alanna Kellogg

    Hi Helen,

    Yum! I’m here because I remember your recommending a special cheesecake pan vs a springform. (FYI your link in this post is broken! I think this is what people want — https://www.pastrieslikeapro.com/2014/10/baking-equipment-utensils/#.VGjfcEs8ilI — on your new site.) I’d love to know what’s different about one, also where to find one, I’m only finding springform pans.

    I also would love to know how to get the cheesecake off the base, whether in a springform or special cheesecake pan. Are there special tricks?

    Also — the special squash for making your own pumpkin puree is the “kabocha” — here’s more info, http://www.kitchenparade.com/2011/10/homemade-kabocha-squash-pumpkin-puree.html.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Alanna. Thanks for letting me know the link is broken. It is now fixed. I want to send everyone to the Sour Cream Cheesecake because all of your questions are answered. Why it’s different, how to remove the side and how to get it off of the bottom round. Photos for all. Thanks too for letting us know what pumpkin to use.

      One of the reasons I use only cheesecake pans is the ease with which you can remove the bottom. The springform pans have a lip making removing them much more difficult.

      You can find cheesecake pans at Kitchen Conservatory in St. Louis. I’m sure they are also on the internet. Let me know if you need anything else. Always happy to help.

        1. hfletcher Post author

          Boy, I’ll bet we have really confused a lot of people. The Apple Crisp Cheesecake shows the same thing the Sour Cream Cheesecake does. Not sure why the Sour cream Cheesecake was hard to find. It can be found by typing it into the search box on the blog (about half way down the page) or by going to the Recipe index and looking at cheesecakes. Sorry it was hard to find.

  4. sallybr

    Helen, what a coincidence! Just yesterday someone brought to the department a pumpkin cheesecake – i did not try it, but Phil came home mesmerized about it, and he doesn’t even like cheesecake.

    I think this is a much better dessert and he will love it if I make it – he even bought two small pumpkins yesterday and told me he wants to make that dessert once we are back in the US after our trip. I wonder if I can twist his arm to make your recipe instead. Phil is very good at making desserts, he grew up watching his Grandma make amazing stuff

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Sally: At the bakery we replaced the pumpkin cheesecake with this dessert. There was no comparison. This is the best of two worlds. If you make your pumpkin from scratch, I suggest cutting it in half, removing the seeds and placing it, cut side down on a rimmed sheet pan that has been sprayed. That way it steams and doesn’t add additional water to it.

      The only problem with making your own pumpkin puree, is there is a specific pumpkin that is best for pureeing. Unfortunately, I don’t know which one that is.

      Anyway, good luck when you get back. Maybe you could suggest you make both of them and see which one is best.

      1. sallybr

        I think for this recipe I rather use canned pumpkin because I would be afraid to mess it up. Phil is used to making pumpkin pie from real pumpkins and he won’t touch the canned stuff… ;-)

  5. manisha

    HI Helen,

    This looks fabulous. Could I use homemade pumpkin puree as we do not get it here? I was thinking of making the puree at home from fresh pumpkin peeled, chopped , cooked and pureed. Lemme know your thoughts on it.

    This recipe looks worth every effort :)

    Many thanx.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Manisha: Here are my thoughts. See my comment to Sally at Bewitching Kitchen for how to prepare the pumpkin. The only foreseeable problem is the thickness and/or water content of the homemade puree. The canned puree is very thick.

      I would give it a try. Just roast or steam your pumpkin and it should be ok. Let me know how it came out if you do this.

  6. Heather


    At this point I bow to you. This torte, all buttery and full of pumpkin goodness, has to be the best torte I’ve ever made and tasted. My guests were more than complimentary and I told them about your site, along with my apologies, and this recipe. It was, by my standards, incredible. Thanks for sharing and please print a book of these most wonderful desserts!

    1. Helen S. Fletcher Post author

      Hi Heather:
      I hope you have seen my bakeries website:wwwgooeychocolate.com. My frustration lies in the fact I have tried to find a publisher for years but to
      no avail. All of the products we made at the bakery are the same quality as the Pumpkin Torte. Hopefully, there will be more people like you that enjoy my work and then I can publish my own book. My husband’s photography adds so much to what I love – to share, to teach and you are the person that keeps me going in this direction.

  7. Helen S. Fletcher Post author

    I love readers like you, Heather and am so happy you read the site and enjoy it.

    Thank you for bringing my attention to the leftover pumpkin. I am adding the muffin suggestion to the article.

    Have a great Sunday.

  8. Heather

    Thanks for the correction! Yes, it turned out perfect. It will be a nice addition to my Sunday dinner! I’ll direct folks to you site!


  9. Heather


    I tried this reccipe and have it chilling in the fridge. Some things I really didn’t like. The recipe doesn’t say to “Chill” the cheese cake portion before proceeding with the Mousse portion of the recipe. For a novice home baker this could be disater, but perahps this site it not focused on the amateur cook since you owned a bakery and have written books. Perhaps this site if focused on the professional chef.

    My other frown is that this recipe uses 1 1/4 cans of pumpkin. This is wrong if you’re weighing it out. Most cans of pumpkin are 15 ounces. If weighing this out, for the 1 1/4 pounds called for in the recipe, this measurement of 1 1/4 cans if incorrect. Also…what the heck do you do with the other 3/4 cans of pumpkin that is leftover??? I really dislike recipes that do this.

    The pictures are great and I’m sure the one I have chilling will be great, but I have reservations about the novice baker trying this recipe.

    Thanks for you recipes!

    1. Helen S. Fletcher Post author

      Dear Heather:
      The recipe clearly states “cool completely” referring to the cheesecake layer. Out the of hundreds and hundreds we made, we never chilled the cheesecake layer before topping with the mousse. if the cheesecake layer is too hard from chilling, the mousse may not adhere to the cheesecake layer causing it to slide off so it is never chilled- only cooled. As to what to do with the 3/4 can left over, make muffins. Make 1 1/2 recipes of the Streusel Topped Pumpkin Muffins in the TV Recipes. That will use the 3/4 cup leftover. The muffins also freeze well if the recipe makes too many. This recipe was broken down from one that made 18 at a time and that is how the measurement came out.

      As to the pound measurement and then the 1 1/4 can, you are entirely correct – but it won’t make a big difference if 1 1/2 ounces is left out or put in.

      This site is indeed focused on the amateur. If it focused on professionals, I would not use as many photos as I do. The aim is to help anyone interested at any level to successfully make this.

      Thank you for your comments – I do believe you will be rewarded with the finished Torte.

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