• Alison MacInnis


I've made this for several years now, ONLY for thanksgiving, because I'm pretty sure it's the most unhealthy dessert ever to grace my family's dinner table (tons of heavy cream!), but totally worth it! This year I added a layer of chocolate mousse and a topping of coconut chocolate ganache, it was insanely good!

YIELDMakes 10 servings


  1. For crust

  • 20 (2-inch) gingersnap cookies, finely ground

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  1. For filling

3 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from two 1 1/2-oz envelopes)

  • 1/4 cup bourbon or brandy

  • 6 large eggs, separated

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 2 1/4 cups solid-pack canned pumpkin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream

  • Garnish: chopped crystallized ginger and whipped cream

  1. Special Equipment a 9 1/2-inch (24-cm) springform pan


  1. Make crust:

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  3. Stir together gingersnap crumbs and butter in a bowl until crumbs are evenly moistened, then press onto bottom of buttered springform pan. Bake in middle of oven until edge is golden brown, about 8 minutes (watch carefully toward end of baking; crust burns easily). Cool in pan on a rack.

  4. Make filling:

  5. Sprinkle gelatin over bourbon in a small bowl and let soften.

  6. Beat together yolks and brown sugar with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce speed to moderate and mix in pumpkin, spices, and salt.

Transfer pumpkin mixture to a 4-quart heavy saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it registers160°F on a candy or instant-read thermometer, about 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat and immediately add gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved. Transfer to a large metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and cool, stirring occasionally, until the consistency of raw egg whites, about 15 minutes.

  1. Beat egg whites with cleaned beaters at high speed until frothy, then gradually add granulated sugar, beating until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Fold into pumpkin mixture gently but thoroughly.

Beat cream in another bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks, then fold into pumpkin mixture gently but thoroughly. Pour filling into springform pan, smoothing top, and chill, uncovered, 1 hour. Cover and chill until set, at least 3 hours.

  1. Before serving, run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side.

Cooks' note: The egg whites in this recipe are not cooked. If Salmonella is a problem in your area, you can use reconstituted powdered egg whites such as Just Whites.

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