Fall and pumpkin pie are always friends. And who doesn’t love a good pumpkin pie?! But haven’t you been to a point when you get very excited about that pumpkin pie in the fridge before the big Thanksgiving feast, and realize that you’ve eaten too much and all you want for dessert is something a little lighter than a pumpkin pie?
This pumpkin chiffon tart is a lighter, prettier and more delicious version of the traditional pumpkin dessert. It’s all about the silky and mousse-like filling which contains no egg yolks. Instead I mixed in heavy cream for the creaminess, and whipped up the egg whites and folded the meringue in the pumpkin mixture to make it super light and fluffy. A little gelatin powder helped the filling stay firm nicely after it’s chilled.
Thanks to my mother-in-law who brought us a few Japanese pumpkins, and the natural sweetness from the pumpkins allowed me to use less sugar in the filling, only three tablespoons! It’s totally fine to used canned pumpkin though. Just make sure you go for a good brand. To achieve the filling’s mousse-like and no-fibrous texture, I used my food processor to quickly spin the pumpkin mixture before adding in the cream.
This pumpkin chiffon tart turned out to be quite simple to make, considered the only baking required is for the crust. And you don’t have to worry about making the yolk-based custard for the filling. Most importantly, this tart is so light and delicate that it’s completely okay to have second or third slice.
Ingredients (7-inch pie):
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Pumpkin Chiffon Filling
1/2 tablespoon unflavored gelatin powder
2 tablespoons water
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 7-inch springform pan.
To prepare crust, combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl. Mix until a moist yet crumbly mixture forms. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the prepared pan.
Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
To prepare filling, sprinkle gelatin powder in water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Microwave 10 to 20 seconds on high until mixture is liquidy and gelatin dissolves. Let cool slightly.
In a food processor, mix pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt until completely smooth.
Transfer pumpkin mixture to a bowl with gelatin mixture and heavy cream. Stir to combine.
In a bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Fold meringue in the pumpkin mixture, half at a time, until just incorporated.
Pour batter into the cool crust and smooth the top.
Refrigerate the tart until set, at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight.
Before serving, whip up the remaining heavy cream and sugar until firm. Top the tart with the whipped cream and nuts.