pumpkin tiramisu

Pumpkin tiramisu? We were a bit skeptical at first but clearly intrigued. Browsing the ingredient list, it seemed like too much of a departure. No ladyfingers! No coffee! We imagined making some modifications to better fit our preconceived notion of what a pumpkin tiramisu should be. [Putting in ladyfingers soaked in coffee, for example.] But in the end we had the good sense to give it a try unchanged, and the result dispelled our reservations completely.

The recipe was another Thanksgiving supermarket food mag checkout rack snatch, the cover bait being pumpkin soup, a dish we'd like to experiment with but never get around to doing. It was an easy decision to go for it since our fabulous wild mushroom stuffing was harvested from the previous year's Thanksgiving issue of the same magazine, again to be repeated this season.

The one downside of Thanksgiving desserts is gluttony. Even after waiting a few hours after the big dinner, even a fabulous dessert like this one just cannot be enjoyed the way it should be following up exaggerated ritual food overload. Fortunately, like turkey, this can survive to the leftover stage. Better yet, make it for Thanksgiving and wait till the day after to serve it, or even for an unrelated occasion. Like the real tiramisu, its flavor matures with time.


cookie layer
2 T bourbon [or extra Kahlua, Frangelico, or tiramisu liqueur for dipping]
1 T granulated sugar
9oz package chocolate wafers
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1 3/4 c [about 500g or 1 lb container] mascarpone
1 3/4 c [about 16oz or 1 pint] heavy cream
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder [or freshly grated bittersweet chocolate]
1 t = 1 teaspoon
1 T = 1 tablespoon
1 c = 1 cup (holds 1/4 liter water)


  1. In a very small saucepan, combine the bourbon with 1 T sugar and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat. Line the bottom of a 10 in springform pan with 18 to 20 cookies, overlapping a few. Brush the cookies with half the bourbon syrup.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree with the sugar and spices. Add the mascarpone and cream. Beat the mixture on medium speed with a hand mixer until soft peaks form, but do not overbeat. Spread half the mixture over the cookies in the pan.
  3. Cover the pumpkin mixture with the remaining cookies, overlapping slightly. Drizzle with the remaining bourbon syrup, and then cover with the remaining pumpkin mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Just before serving sift the cocoa or directly grate the bittersweet chocolate over the top. Then release and remove the springform pan side and serve with a flat spatula. Actually the chocolate topping step can be done immediately in step 3 before refrigerating without adverse effects.


Food & Wine Magazine
November 1997, p 182: Thanks, Peggy Cullen. No website yet in 1999. [But soon after they saw the light.]
Liqueur problems
2 T of bourbon syrup is not much. And does not go very far. We dribbled a bit on the center of each cookie trying to make it stretch, but not being convinced, used some tiramisu liqueur in a cup to dip about 6 to 8 cookies that we put over the second layer of cookies. The chocolate wafers we used were not the overlapping kind, so we just laid them out touching each other packed as closely as the round springform pan allowed and then broke a few pieces to fill some of the gaps. And put a few extras around on top. After a day of aging, the cookies softened up nicely and the seed liqueur dispersed quite well into the mousse.
Whipping cream?
We were rather suspicious of the bit about whipping up this mess of ingredients and getting soft peaks. It seemed more reasonable to whip the cream separately and then fold together with the other stuff. But sure enough, it did form soft peaks. We're just born skeptics.
Here are the mug shots.

tiramisp.htm: 27-mar-1999 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]