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I Am Thankful For. . . Chocolate Pumpkin Pots de Creme (Vegan, Dairy Free, Sugar Free)

[This is the final recipe I have to share from this year’s Thanksgiving feast–but what a way to end off the meal!  We also had an interesting savory oat-stuffed squash, which I posted on my Facebook page if you’re interested. :)]

Pumpkin Chocolate Mousse from Diet, Dessert and Dogs blog

I do seem to be on a “pumpkin and chocolate” kick these days.  I think it’s a throwback to my childhood Halloweens, when those two items always went together.  Chocolate, more chocolate, topped with a few chunks of chocolate, coated in a sheath of chocolate, served up with a side of chocolate.  Oh, and a plastic pumpkin used for collecting. . . . chocolate.

These days, my pumpkin is real and often home-roasted, and my chocolate is fair trade, organic, and unsweetened.  But hey–it’s still chocolate.

The combination of pumpkin and sepia sweetness first occurred to me as an offshoot of Ellen Abraham’s genius brownies in Simple Treats.  In that recipe, Abraham employs a smidge (isn’t that a great word?) of sweet potato purée to help bind and sweeten the brownies, and to approximate the dense fudginess of egg- and butter-based bars.  I loved them and used to bake (and eat) them all the time pre-ACD.

But times change.

While I’ve continued to use sweet potato in my own brownies, I think pumpkin is equally versatile and delicious.  And it’s popping up everywhere on blogs these days: pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin alfredo, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soufflépumpkin souppumpkin brownie tarts, pumpkin chocolate chip cookiespumpkin parfait, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cinnamon rolls and pumpkin chili. Mmmm!  I’ve used it, too, in hummus, crumble bars, bread pudding, pumpkin butter, and (just recently) pasta.  So it just made sense to combine it with my favorite food, chocolate!

This dessert is sort of like the evil twin of the mousse I posted recently: whereas that earlier version is virtuous and pure, this one is luxuriant and verging on debauchery, with a rich, velvety texture that beguiles. Tradtional pôts de crème are pillowy, light custards suffused with cream. Lighter and smoother than typical custards, they fairly float across the tongue, irresistibly. (For some enticing photos of a true pôt de crème, see this blog post).  Not quite as solid as the real thing, this silky, smooth and airy vegan version is so reminiscent that I just had to use the French term. But who cares what we call it?  This is one of the most decadent desserts you’ll ever eat.

The pumpkin and chocolate command equal roles in this mousse-like dessert, sharing the flavor spotlight much like chocolate and coffee do in mocha confections.  Enhancing the squash is a breath of cinnamon, which adds depth and warmth.  The small amount of agave softens the bitterness of the unsweetened chocolate just enough so that stevia can take over from there, resulting in a dark yet rich chocolate intensity.

Overall, the HH and I absolutely adored these.  I ended up freezing leftovers so we wouldn’t over-indulge and I plan to use them for some mighty fine ice cream once we’ve had a chance to recover from the chocolate overload.  (Okay, let’s be honest: once the HH has a chance to recover from his chocolate overload.  There is no such thing where I’m concerned. 😉 ).

Because they taste so decadent and contain such healthy ingredients, I’m submitting these babies to Amy’s weekly Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays event.  Hop on over and see what else is on the menu this week!

Pumpkin chocolate mousse from Diet, Dessert and Dogs blog

Last Year at this Time: Baked Blueberry Breakfast Oatmeal Pudding

Two Years Ago: The Parable of the Steak (pre-ACD)

© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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