Do you have lots of pumpkin leftover after Halloween? This is the ideal way to use it up – takes about 5 minutes to whip up the mousse, and you can keep it in the fridge. (I should know, as I have pulverised three gigantic pumpkins into puree over the last two weeks, and had to come up with ways to utilise almost a bucketful of puree).
But what can you do – pumpkin is impossible to avoid this time of year. At least it is low-carb, with only 6g net carbs per 100g. It is also a permitted food on Atkins Induction.
Adding spices to pumpkin
The only unfortunate aspect of pumpkin is that it tastes a bit bland on its own. So it is usually jazzed up with spices, herbs and other flavours.
For sweet pumpkin recipes, “pumpkin pie” spice mix is often used. The exact ingredients can vary between different brands, but usually include cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger. Schwartz have a similar spice mix they call (imaginatively) Mixed Spice.
In this recipe, I am also going to use quite a lot of vanilla. Ideally, use a sugar-free vanilla extract, or real vanilla seeds from pod.
Making pumpkin puree
There are many ways to make pumpkin puree, or you can buy it ready-made in cans. Unless you are very short on time, I recommend buying fresh and cooking from scratch. This is always better as you will know exactly what’s in your food.
- In the oven – this method is less fiddly, but takes longer overall. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stick both halfs in the oven at 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4 for about 1-1.5 hours or so, until flesh is completely soft. Cool and scoop out the flesh. Mash into a puree.
- Steaming or boiling – this requires peeling which is always a bit of a nightmare. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds. Peel the pumpkin (this part is a pain, I do admit). Cut into small chunks and boil or steam for about 30-45 minutes until very soft. Mash using a potato masher or handheld mixer.
Pumpkin contains quite a lot of moisture anyway, and can soak up even more water when boiled or steamed. If your puree is homemade, it is difficult to predict exactly how much extra water it will absorb. The amount of moisture affects the texture of your recipe (especially with baking), and also nutritional value including carbs count.
If using canned puree, use the values as per nutritional label on the tin – there is a lot of variance brand by brand, depending on the amount of water. When making homemade puree, note down the weight of the pumpkin BEFORE you cook it, and use that to calculate the nutritional values.
Other low-carb pumpkin mousse recipes
There are many other low-carb pumpkin mousse recipes out there, and I do not claim to have invented anything ground-breaking here. It is a very simple idea, to mix up the pumpkin with creamy high-fat ingredients like butter, cream or cream cheese. My recipe uses butter and so is quite high in fat. There are other recipes out there using heavy cream or nut milks instead, which would result in lower fat content.
Low-Carb Pumpkin Mousse
- 120g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 200g (7 oz) cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
- 2 cups homemade or canned pumpkin puree
- 4 tbsp sugar-free vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla pod
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice or pumpkin pie spice
- Beat softened butter together with cream cheese and sweetener until very soft (either manually or using a hand-held beater)
- Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice and vanilla and beat further until completely blended
- Optional – sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar-free cacao powder or flaked almonds
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating, keep in the fridge