This is a guest post by my good friend Ricki Heller, author of Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free: 100 Recipes Without Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, or Refined Sugar and the upcoming title, Living Candida-Free: 100 Recipes and a 3-Stage Program to Restore Your Health and Vitality. Like all of Ricki’s recipes, these pumpkin mousse tarts are vegan, gluten-free, and low sugar (many of her recipes are sugar-free).
When my sister and I were kids, we waited all year for Halloween. We loved the ritual of dressing up, of course, but more than that, we loved trick or treating. We’d grab our plastic pumpkin baskets and head out into the neighborhood with the throngs of other children (in those days, parents rarely came along), seeking the houses distinguished by carved pumpkins with candles flickering in the their interiors, calling us to their doors the way neon “Open” signs call sailors to pubs. We’d walk from block to block through the neighborhood until the baskets were fairly bursting with goodies; then we’d rush home, dump everything in piles on the living room floor, and begin the negotiations.
“How many Coffee Crisp do you have?” my sister would ask. I’d count out the miniature chocolate bars, then counter with something like, “I only have three. But I can give you some SweeTarts. Or how about some Smarties (Canadians’ version of M&Ms)? Neither one of us ever wanted the dumpy, bruised apples or the little boxes of raisins, which were inevitably given to our mother, who placed them in her stash for baking.
For me, Halloween has always been about the chocolate; more than anything else, the holiday evokes the desire for that rich, smooth, melty treat. Ever since I changed my diet almost two years ago, though, I’ve been unable to indulge in products containing refined sugar–which pretty much eliminates all conventional Halloween treats.
These pumpkin mousse tarts pay homage to my love of Halloween chocolates as well as providing a use for the excess pumpkin you may find in your kitchen about now. A rich vegan chocolate shortbread crust is filled with light-as-air pumpkin mousse, all topped off with a chocolate ganache glaze, perfect for the end of a special meal or whenever you feel like a treat. And you can feel (slightly) virtuous eating these pumpkin mousse tarts, too, since they’re not only dairy free – they’re also free of refined sugar, gluten and eggs.
Special Diet Notes: Pumpkin Mousse Tarts with Chocolate Shortbread Crust
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, vegetarian, and generally top food allergy-friendly.
Note that Ricki prefers to use agave nectar in these pumpkin mousse tarts due to its sharp but clean sweetness and naturally vegan nature. As she notes, maple syrup can be used as an alternative, but your favorite liquid sweetener will also do in a pinch.
- ¼ cup (60 ml) coconut oil, solid at room temperature
- ¼ cup (40 g) brown rice flour
- ⅓ cup (55 g) sorghum flour
- 2 tablespoons (15 ml) cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) coconut sugar
- ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) baking powder
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) agave nectar or maple syrup
- 10-12 drops stevia liquid
- ¼ cup (60 ml) cold plain or vanilla unsweetened milk alternative (such as rice milk)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) organic cornstarch or tapioca starch
- 1 can (400 ml) full fat coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen)
- ¾ cup (180 ml) pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2¼ teaspoons agar powder (see note below)
- 1 ounce (35 g) unsweetened dairy-free chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) agave nectar or maple syrup
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180C). Grease or line 5 individual tart tins with parchment paper. Place the tart tins on a cookie sheet.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the coconut oil, flours, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt until evenly mixed and the coconut oil has broken up completely. Add the agave and stevia and whir again until a dough is formed (it may be a bit soft; this is fine).
- Divide dough into 5 equal portions and press evenly into the tart tins. If necessary, wet your fingers to prevent sticking. Prick the bottom of each tart 2-3 times with a fork.
- Bake in your preheated oven until dry and beginning to brown on the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- In a medium pot, blend the milk alternative and starch until no lumps are visible. Add the pumpkin and whisk until smooth, then add remaining ingredients and whisk again.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble; allow to bubble for 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, stirring once after 5 minutes. Refrigerate until cold (the mixture will be solid).
- Break up the jelled mousse and place in a food processor, then process until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Melt the chocolate and agave together in a small pot over lowest heat possible, stirring constantly, until melted.
- Spoon or pipe the pumpkin mousse filling into the cool tart shells, then drizzle with the chocolate ganache.
- Store, covered, in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.
Timing: Note that the Prep Time does not including chilling of the filling.