You know what’s kinda cool? When you’re putting on a fancy dinner or a feast like Thanksgiving and you can knock off a showstopper of a dessert ahead of time. Even better? When it’s an easy, no-cook, and very fun dessert like these Pumpkin Parfaits.
Can’t you just picture yourself bringing these to the table? Or maybe putting them out on a dessert bar? I promise you’ll get a few ooohs and ahs. I mean, c’mon, just look at them! There is some drama in that presentation!
And ya have to love a seasonal dessert that has all the flavors we expect from fall. A rich, perfectly spiced pumpkin mousse layered with whipped cream, a bit of the intensity from the gingersnaps and just a hint of chocolate from chocolate covered almonds.
That’s going to give you smooth and creamy with just the right amount of crunch to keep things interesting.
These can be made the day ahead, and have to be made at least three hours ahead (so they can chill) but I’ve an included an optional step to stabilize that whipping cream so it will hold up better for longer.
This is a super rich dessert & the parfaits aren’t huge so you’ll want to be careful that you don’t end up with the first few overfilled and the last skimpy. One thing that helps is putting the mousse and cream into Ziploc bags, snipping off a corner and piping, rather than spooning, into your glasses. There’s more whipped cream than pumpkin mousse, so keep that in mind.
I bought everything for these at Aldi, where the pumpkin and whipping cream beat out all the sales at my local groceries. I also found the chocolate covered almonds there. You can buy your gingersnaps for this – they’ll be a little more crumbly than the Home-Made Gingersnap I used.
Make Ahead Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits
Stabilizing the whipping cream with the gelatin/water mixture is optional but highly recommended, especially if keeping for more than 24 hours in the fridge.
- 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 cups cream, cold
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, preferably dark
- 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 cups crumbled gingersnap cookies
- 1 1/4 cup chocolate covered almonds, crushed
In a small microwave safe bowl, add water and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Set aside for several minutes so the gelatin can soften. Heat in the microwave to melt the gelatin, five to 10 seconds. No need to boil. Gently stir and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whip cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Turn mixer to low and while the mixer is moving, carefully pour the gelatin mixture into the whipped cream. Turn mixer up and beat until stiff peaks form. Place whipped cream into a piping bag with a large tip or ziploc bag (you’ll trim off the corner when ready to pipe) and set aside.
Add cream cheese to the mixing bowl (no need to rinse bowl or beaters) and on medium speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in brown sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until smooth, scraping side of bowl as needed; fill a second piping bag or Ziploc. Set aside.
In medium bowl, combine cookies and chopped nuts, setting a little aside for garnishing the tops of the parfaits. Divide half the remaining cookie mixture among 8 parfait glasses. Divide half of pumpkin mixture among glasses, followed by half of whipped cream. Repeat layering of cookie mixture, pumpkin and whipped cream. Use remaining cookie mixture to garnish the tops of the parfaits.
Chill, then cover when cold, refrigerating at least 3 hours or up to 1 day if not stabilized; if planning on keeping for two to three days, use the stabilized whipped cream.