Today I set out to make a pumpkin mousse pie thingy (I had no idea what I was doing) without any added oils or sugar. Ive never made a pumpkin pie before, or a mousse cake, but I thought well why not - I like a challenge. Long story short...that did not eventuate. Nevertheless I did end up salvaging my efforts (somewhat) by making a pretty tasty chai inspired chocolate mousse. A happy accident perhaps. This mousse was creamy, spicy and pretty damn yum - and it passed the Jensen taste test (that is, it was consumed within a minute), but it was a bit of a process. Although it qualifies as a whole food, plant based (WFPB) dessert it does pack a caloric punch with all those cashews - it's rich, and should be considered a treat, not some magic weight-loss inducing dessert just because its WFPB.
Firstly I soaked some cashews and set them aside for a few hours. I also finely chopped some dates, added them to a bowl with my spice mixture and covered them with a bit of boiling water which would eventually thicken up and form a nice paste. I set the paste aside too. Ahh the waiting game, I find that difficult when it comes to food.
Next I got to work on the pumpkin (it was supposed to be the main draw card after all), finely chopping and steaming a little over two cups. Meanwhile I tasted the date paste...hmmm a little too spicy? Not quite sweet enough? I was hoping the natural sweetness of the pumpkin, combined with the creaminess of the cashews would complement the spice paste well.
Once the steamed pumpkin was cool(ish) I brought out my trusty food processor and got to work. Usually I would use the Vitamix for an extra smooth mousse, but let's be honest that thing is louder than a jet plane taking off and the neighbours were home...im such a thoughtful neighbour. I blended the pumpkin briefly, following this I added the date and spice paste.
The last piece of the puzzle (or so I thought) was the cashew cream. I drained the cashews and blended them up with a little oat milk and vanilla essence. Yum! Finally to combine everything and make some golden deliciousness......ohhh. The white cashew cream and the dark orange puree did not make the beautiful golden mixture that was in my mind's eye, oh no not even close. What I now had in my mixing bowl was a beige coloured mess that brought to mind....well, things that shouldn't be thought about when looking at food. Not something I would happily serve up to people. The positive was that it did taste delicious. I added a little turmeric in the hopes of correcting the colour...sadly it was not redeemable. What to do? I thought there was a chance I could make the mousse too bitter if I added more turmeric, and I was hellbent on using no added sweeteners. Resigned to the fact I would not be feasting on anything orange today, I decided to add cocoa powder. Let's face it - you can't go wrong with chocolate. So in the end I ended up with a chocolatey, spicy mouse..which did not taste like pumpkin at all. Hidden veg?! If anyone asks I was aiming for this all along....
As for the pumpkin cake - back to the drawing board.
Chocolate Chai Mousse
- 1 cup cashews
- 10 dates (5 if using medjool)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 2 cups pumpkin, finely chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/3 cup oat milk
- 1.5 tbsp cocoa powder (not dutch)
1. Cover cashews with boiling water and set aside to soak.
2. Finely chop dates, combine in bowl with dried spices and cover with boiling water until date pieces are almost submerged, set aside.
3. Meanwhile steam pumpkin and then allow to cool.
4. After allowing cashews and date mixture to soak for 3-5 hours use the highest powered blender/food processor you have to firstly blend together steamed pumpkin and date paste. Set this aside in a mixing bowl and clean your blender.
5. Drain cashews and place in blender with oat milk (you may want to add your milk bit by bit until you get your desired consistency), vanilla essence and cocoa powder. Blend on high until very smooth and the mixture reaches a cream-like consistency. You will likely need to stop and start a few times to scrape down the sides, ensuring everything combines.
6. Combine cashew cream mixture and pumpkin puree mixture in mixing bowl and combine everything well. Scoop mixture into glasses and place in refrigerator for at least an hour to allow mixture to set. Very nice topped with strawberries!