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Pumpkin Tiramisu

After more than 20 years of making pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to break with tradition this year and create a new recipe: Pumpkin Tiramisu!  Since tiramisu is one of Jon’s favorite desserts, I thought it would be great to make a pumpkin-y version for the holiday.  But I also wanted to make something that could be prepared in one pan — not just assembled later — an important factor on Thanksgiving when things can get hectic in the kitchen.  It was also important to me that this could be made both soy-free and gluten-free if necessary, for people who might be at the table with such food sensitivities.
I’m happy to report that, after four tries, the recipe is a resounding success on all counts.  It’s made up of three layers: a bottom pumpkin cake layer, a middle layer of creamy pumpkin filling, and it all topped with a final layer of maple-rum cashew cream.  The recipe can be made in either and 8 or 9-inch springform pan or a 7×10-inch or 8-inch square baking pan.  It can be sliced and served on a plate so you can see the three layers, or spooned into pretty dessert glasses, as shown in the top photo (please excuse the flash photo).   
If you want to go all fancy-pants, you can, instead, bake each of the first two layers in separate pans, and then assemble all three layers in individual dessert glasses, allowing for the layers to show distinctly in the glasses.  Normally I might opt for that presentation, but I think that most of us on Thanksgiving just want something we can make and serve with as little fuss as possible.
I have to thank recipe tester extraordinaire, Barbara Bryan, for helping me test this recipe.  I’m especially fortunate that she took this on, because she worked for many years in the food industry as a recipe developer and more.  She did an amazing job and I’m especially grateful that I didn’t have to make (and eat!) all four of the test versions of this recipe — although I’m not sure Jon would have minded!  In addition to helping perfect the recipe, Barbara also weighed out each of the ingredients for those of you who use metric measurements. Here’s one of Barbara’s photos of a slice of the tiramisu she made in a springform pan:
Jon and I practically inhaled this when I made it and here’s what Barbara had to say about the final recipe: “The recipe works perfectly and it doesn’t matter whether you use vegan cream cheese or soaked/drained cashews+beans.  None of the layers were too sweet or too boozy or not sweet enough. Everything is perfect…textures are different in each layer, it tastes fantastic, and is beautiful to serve…a true symphony of texture, flavor, and eye appeal!”
…..Well, I guess that about sums it up.  Hope you enjoy!
Pumpkin Tiramisu
Recipe © 2011 by Robin Robertson
Pumpkin Cake Layer:
3/4 cup all purpose flour (100 g)
1/2 cup natural sugar or light brown sugar  (102 g)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (3 g)
1 teaspoon baking powder (6 g)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup solid-pack pumpkin puree (142 g) 
1/2 cup almond milk (120 g, 4 oz)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 g)
Pumpkin Cream Layer:
1 cup vegan cream cheese [or 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours or overnight and drained (110g)    + 1/4 cup cooked cannelini beans, rinsed and drained (65 g)]
1 cup solid-pack pumpkin puree (280 g)
1/2 cup natural sugar or light brown sugar (119 g)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (9 g)
2 tablespoons dark rum (27 g)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (3 g), plus more for dusting
Maple-Rum Cream Layer:
2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours or overnight, and drained (276 g)
1/3 cup maple syrup (100 g)
1/4 cup light brown sugar (80 g)
3 tablespoons dark rum (39 g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 g)
Pumpkin Cake Layer:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt, and mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.  Scrape the batter into a lightly oiled 7×10 or 8×8 baking dish or an 8 or 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 20 minutes. 
Pumpkin Cream Layer:
While the cake is baking, combine the cream cheese (or cashews + cannelini beans), pumpkin, sugar, cornstarch, rum, and the pumpkin pie spice in a food processor or high speed blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Spread the mixture onto the cake and return to the oven for 20 minutes, or until set.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
Maple-Rum Cream Layer:
In a food processor or high speed blender, combine the cashews, maple syrup, sugar, rum, and vanilla, and process until completely smooth and creamy. Scrape into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
To assemble:
Spread the maple-rum cream onto the chilled pumpkin cream layer.  Sprinkle the top with a light dusting of pumpkin pie spice.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Serves 6

Substitutions:
  • Instead of vegan (soy) cream cheese: you can use the option provided in the recipe for cashews + cannellini beans.  Note: if making my pumpkin cheesecake recipe, you can use this formula to replace the cream cheese in the recipe: 1 cup vegan cream cheese = 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours or overnight and drained (110g) and 1/4 cup cooked cannelini beans, rinsed and drained (65 g), pureed in a high speed blender.
  • For a gluten-free version: use your favorite gluten-free flour blend.
  • For an alcohol-free version: use apple juice in place of the rum.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Sherri November 19, 2012, 9:13 pm

    Hi. Can I substitute agave for the maple syrup?

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