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This is another Cherchio holiday favorite. I’ve adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit magazine for Michael, who is very particular with his sugar intake. This is truly as delicious as pumpkin pie. The flavors are so amazing together that you’ll never miss the sugar, but I’ve included the measurements in case you prefer sugar. This recipe isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds. It’s easy to whip up, and is great because it can be made ahead.

Whipped Cream
Mix 1 1/4 c whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add 2 packages of Splenda, or 2 tsp sugar. Blend in 2 Tb of Kahlua if desired (I highly recommend it).

Mousse
2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
5 large egg yolks
1 1/4 canned pumpkin puree
2 Tb rum
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
sweeten with 7 packets of Splenda or 3/4 c of sugar

Toasted Nuts
3/4 c chopped pecans
1 1/2 Tb butter
2 packets of Splenda or 2 tsp sugar
dash of cinnamon

Whisk 3/4 c whipping cream, sugar or Splenda, and egg yolks in a heavy, medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until thickened to pudding consistency, about 10 minutes (do not allow to boil or the egg yolks will become grainy). Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Mix in pumpkin, rum, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Chill for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve 1/2 c of whipped cream for garnish. Gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture. Cover and chill about 4 hours.

Meanwhile, make the toasted nuts. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the nuts, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add the sweetener or sugar, and sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon. Toast the nuts until crisped and golden brown. This intensifies the flavors.

Assemble the Mousse
In each of 4 goblet bowls, create a layer about 1/3 c of mousse. Sprinkle with nuts, followed by another layer of mousse. Cover and freeze.

The assembled mousse can be covered and chilled the day before. Top with a dollop of the whipped cream.

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