Pumpkin Mousse Tart
Chocolate Almond Crust:
- 3/4 cup blanched whole almonds, toasted lightly
- 20 thin chocolate wafer cookies
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 extra-large egg yolks
- 1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
- 1 ripe banana, finely mashed
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the decoration:
- 1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a food processor, pulse almonds until ground. Add chocolate wafer cookies and grind fine. Add butter, sugar, almond extract, and salt and pulse until combined well. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto bottom and 1 inch up side. Bake crust in middle of oven 10 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool. Crust may be made 3 days ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.
For the filling, heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don’t want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.
Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool.
Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
For the decoration, whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart. Serve chilled.