Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits & Exciting News

So I've started this post about 18 different times over the last few weeks but always wound up distracted or fallen asleep before I could finish it - oops! But the other day I discovered something truly exciting that I just had to share. Are you ready? Are you sure? OK, if you're sure... Next week is National Jell-O Week.

What.

I know! We can thank (at least in part) the Mormons for their dedication to the cause and also the fine people at Kraft Foods for continuing to manufacture and promote this true American delicacy.

Luckily, I have a Friday Dinner planned for February 17th so I'll be able to celebrate in style. And, since Valentine's Day is also next week - and everyone knows Valentine's Day is a veritable goldmine of gelatin-related recipes - I have lots (OK, more like several) of fun posts planned.

I'll tide you over with this recipe for Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits that I made for my holiday party back in December. I found the recipe last fall while catching up on my Good Housekeeping at my grandma's apartment. I made them in individual cups so everyone could have their own which meant this dessert was not only delicious but also, adorable. Next time I'll wait to sprinkle the ginger snaps over the top until just before serving but otherwise this recipe was spot on.

Thanks to Paige for the photo!

Mousse Ingredients:

1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup dark rum

15 oz. canned pumpkin

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 extra large egg yolks

2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish:

3 1/2 cups-ish gingersnap cookies, crumbled

3 tablespoons-ish dry, crystallized ginger (if desired)

Start by sprinkling the gelatin over the rum and letting it soften while you prepare the other ingredients. Combine the pumpkin, sugars, egg yolks, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt - whisk until well combined (no lumps!).

To dissolve the gelatin in the rum, use a double broiler or a saucepan with a bowl. We've covered this before but you just bring a few inches of water to boil in a saucepan and then put the heatproof bowl (I use a glass Pyrex one) on top and let the steam heat whatever you're dissolving (chocolate, gelatin, etc.). Once the gelatin is dissolved, whisk it into the pumpkin mixture and set aside.

Whip the cream and vanilla (from the mousse ingredients list) until soft peaks form and then fold into the pumpkin mixture.

Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla (from the whipped cream ingredients list in case you haven't been paying attention) until medium peaks form. Don't over beat the cream!

Now, here is where the original recipe suggests layering your pumpkin mousse, then whipped cream, then the crumbled cookies, then more mousse, more whipped cream, and finally, more crumbled cookies and ginger. This certainly looks nice and if you know that the parfaits will be consumed that evening then go for it! If you think you might have leftovers, however, I would suggest just doing the mousse and whipped cream layers - topping with the crumbled cookies just before serving. This way the leftovers will keep for another day or two without having to worry about soggy cookies (almost as bad as soggy pretzels).

Note that you can layer these into individual serving vessels like a glass (or plastic cup like I did) or you can make this in one large glass bowl and allow people to serve themselves (scooping out however much they want).

However you've chosen to layer your parfaits, you'll want to cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight) so they can firm up. No un-molding necessary! Simply serve to your impressed guests.

Well, there you have it folks. I'll be back to share my Valentine's Day and National Jell-O week adventures soon. Hopefully you'll be able to stand the wait...

Happy Molding!