Courtesy of Chef Tony Nigro
Note: This is a multi-level project. It’s not difficult, but it is time-consuming. It’s also impressive and delicious. It comes with the additional recipe for lady-fingers. These delicate sponge-cake treats are useful for tiramisu, chocolate mousse cake and other specialties. Although Tony didn’t indicate his recipe should be made this way, you could line an 8- or 9-inch spring-form pan with the lady-finger batter, then, after batter is baked, fill the pan with the pumpkin mousse. This method is less time-consuming yet maintains the beautiful flavor palette of the recipe. Decorated, it will have a dramatic presentation as well.
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 10 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons Rain's Choice pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (unseasoned)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 Rain's Choice vanilla bean
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup simple syrup*
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees (205 Centigrade)
- Mix and sift flour and baking powder.
- In a mixing bowl, whip egg whites and sugar to soft peaks, fold in egg yolks, add vanilla, then flour and baking powder mixture.
- Using a pastry tube, pipe the batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, creating circles 3" to 3-1/2" diameter, depending how large you want your towers and how large your molds are. (Note: If using a spring-form pan, spread batter carefully into pan, evenly covering the base of the pan.) Bake until golden brown.
- Allow to cool, then place in refrigerator.
- Sprinkle gelatin into cold water and set aside.
- * Simple Syrup: Combine 1/4 cup water and 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring, then set aside and cool.
- In a mixing bowl, add heavy cream. Cut vanilla bean down the center and scrape the seeds into the cream. Whip cream until soft peaks appear (do not over mix).
- Place in the refrigerator.
- Combine egg whites and simple syrup. Using a candy thermometer, heat mixture to 140 degrees (60 degrees Centigrade), stirring constantly.
- Whip mixture until soft peaks appear, then fold into chilled whipped cream.
- Return to the refrigerator.
- Place pumpkin puree into a mixing bowl. Add cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.
- Heat the gelatin until it dissolves – don’t overheat.
- Add the melted gelatin to the pumpkin, stirring continually for about 10 seconds.
- Add 1/4 of the cream mixture, stirring constantly. Fold in the balance of the mixture.
- Pipe or pour the mousse into the molds* or spring-form pan, and let rest in the freezer several hours or overnight.
- To serve, remove plastic film or remove sides of spring-form pan. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, mint leaves, and whipped cream if desired.
- Molds: Clear Plastic Film
- *To create individual molds, you will need plastic film (transparency film works). Determine the size you want to make – Tony used 8-inch long strips that were about 4 inches high.
- Roll plastic film into a cylinder to fit your ladyfinger base, then tape the plastic so it will stay together. Place in the refrigerator.
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