The original recipe is in the Frog Commissary Cookbook, and I tried it out after one too many years of disappointing pumpkin pies. Eventually I switched the rum to bourbon, and that sealed its fate as a regular in the Thanksgiving rotation. We usually serve it in a big, pretty, white bowl or souffle dish, but I used the little jars to make it easier to transport to dinner.
And, you know, I made an extra for testing and pictures. Purely in the name of blogging and science.
First, find a heat-proof cup and put 1/4 cup of bourbon in it. Sprinkle a packet of plain gelatin over the bourbon to let it start dissolving.
The booze is pretty strong in this, so you can use 2 Tbsp bourbon and 2 Tbsp water if you prefer it a little lighter.
While that softens, put 16 oz pumpkin puree, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ground ginger, and 3/4 tsp fine salt (I ground up this salt) in a large bowl and mix well.
About the pumpkin: most cans are about 14 oz these days, which is fine. This tetra pack was 16 oz. If you get pumpkin pie filling by mistake, skip the spices because they're already in there.
Allspice is something I use 1/8 tsp of about every other year, which means it gets stale well before I use it all. Every couple of years I dump it out and refill the bottle with a small packet of the spice from the little rack at the end of the baking and spices aisle. It's usually much cheaper than buying a whole new bottle.
Stir 1 c sugar and 2 egg yolks into the pumpkin mixture and briefly set aside.
Put 1 inch of water in a pot and set it on the stove over medium heat. When the water comes to a simmer, turn down the heat to low and set the cup of bourbon and gelatin in the pot. Give it a stir and let the gelatin melt completely.
Stir into the bowl with the pumpkin mixture.
Whip 2 cups heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks. Don't start the machine on 11, rather start on low and work your way up. Also, keep your eye on it or you'll end up with butter, have to run back out to the market in your lounge jammies to get more cream...luckily, that didn't happen to me. This time.
Using a rubber or silicone scraper, gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the pumpkin, then fold the rest in once that is done. Ideally you fold until there are no streaks left, but sometimes I like the look of the streaks. Just make sure there aren't a lot of them.
Check me out, making a video! To fold, pull the scraper down one side, through the bottom and up the other. Turn the bowl 1/4 turn and repeat. Continue until it's all mixed in.
Spoon the mousse into a 6 to 8 quart bowl, 8 6 oz ramekins, or 15 4 oz Mason jars. Let set up in the fridge for about 4 hours before serving with whipped cream and your favorite ginger cookies. Don't tell anyone, but between you and me, I bought the cookies.