Spiced Pumpkin Torte

Pecan Crust

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup toasted, ground pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan with waxed paper or parchment paper. Grease lightly.

To make the pecan crust:

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about ten minutes or just until they begin to turn color. Let cool. While nuts are cooling, mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Melt butter. Place nuts in food processor or blender and puree until pieces resemble crumbs. Mix nuts into graham cracker mixture. Add butter and stir to coat. Using the back of a spoon press the mixture into the bottom of the spring-form pan. Wrap the exterior of the spring-form pan with a large single sheet of aluminum foil creating a water tight seal, making sure that the sides of the pan are fully covered by the foil.


Pumpkin Custard
24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
15 ounces pumpkin puree
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon maple flavoring
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

In large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sour cream, scraping down the sides of the bowl well. Add eggs one at a time until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Add pumpkin, vanilla, maple flavoring and salt.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add to custard, stirring until well combined. Spread the custard on the cooled pecan crust, tap the pan lightly on the counter to distribute the custard, being careful to not tear the watertight aluminum foil wrap on the exterior of the spring-form pan.

Place the foil wrapped spring-form pan in a 13×9-inch pan on oven rack. Pour very hot water into the 13×9-inch pan pan to a depth of 1″ and bake for about 30 minutes, until the center no longer jiggles. Remember the custard will continue to cook a little after it is removed from the oven.


Pumpkin Mousse

2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
3/4 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon gelatin powder
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

In a heavy bottomed, medium size sauce pan, whisk 3/4 cup whipping cream, sugar, and egg yolks until well combined. Place over medium-low heat stirring until thickened to pudding consistency,
about 10 minutes (do not boil). Transfer to a large bowl, set aside.

Place the water in a separate small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin powder stirring until dissolved, whisk in the canned pumpkin until well combined. Transfer gelatin mixture to the large bowl containing the thickened whipping cream, sugar and eggs. Mix in dark rum, vanilla, ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and allspice. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups whipping cream in a large bowl until cream holds peaks, fold into pumpkin mixture. Cover and refrigerate mousse at least 4 hours.

Spread the cooled mousse on the cooled custard in the spring-form pan and place in the freezer until frozen solid. Once solid remove the dessert from the spring-form pan and place in the refrigerator until thawed.


White Chocolate Ganache

12 ounces chopped white chocolate
1/2 cup cream

Place finely chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler and cook over medium heat, whisking often, until melted. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, in small saucepan over low heat, heat cream to a simmer, stirring frequently. Remove simmering cream from heat, add about two-thirds of hot cream to melted white chocolate, gently stir to incorporate. Once incorporated, beat or whisk until smooth, scraping bowl as necessary with rubber spatula. Gradually stir in remaining cream.


Candied Pecans

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon water
16 ounces (about 4 cups) unsalted pecan halves

Pre-heat oven to 300° F.

Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, add sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk until combined, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white, vanilla, and water together until frothy. Add the pecans and gently toss until the pecans are well coated. Add the sugar and cinnamon mixture and toss until pecans are covered.

Spread the pecans out in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The sugar mixture will harden on the pecans, be sure to stir them as they are cooling to prevent clumping. Remove from the oven and let the pecans cool on the baking sheet. When completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Gently pour white chocolate ganache over top, creating drizzles down the sides.
Top with a candied pecan and enjoy!