OK, we have less than a week until Thanksgiving dinner. Are you ready?
Thanksgiving dinner is, for a lot of people, THE biggest dinner production of the year. It’s a matter of scheduling, multiple shopping trips, pre-baking, pre-making, freezing, thawing, checking, double checking, counting, serving, and finally, eating. It’s exhausting, but wonderful, and we look forward to it every year.
This dessert is a simple, no-fail, delicious option to add to your Thanksgiving menu. It needs to be made ahead, comes together in a matter of minutes, and looks quite impressive once it hits the table. My family really enjoyed it, and I have a feeling it will become a regular at our holiday table.
I started by making a quick Vanilla Wafer crust. I placed my cookies in a Ziploc bag and gave them a few good rolls of my rolling pin.
Once the cookies were crushed, I combined them with some melted butter, and pressed them firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan.
Once the crust was put together, I got to work on the delicious, pecan crumble topping that would crown the tart when I served it. I stirred together a few more cookies that I’d crushed, some chopped pecans, brown sugar, a dash of pumpkin pie spice, and a little more butter in a small bowl. I spread this mixture out on a cookie sheet that I’d lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick spray, and popped the crumble into the oven, right alongside my crust.
After about eight minutes, the crumble was toasty and crisp. I gave the crust a couple more minutes in the oven, and then I removed them from the oven and let them cool completely.
Once it was cool, I got to work on the filling. I beat some low-fat cream cheese in a bowl along with some canned pumpkin. Once that was blended, I mixed in a box of instant vanilla pudding and a hefty dose of pumpkin pie spice. Then, finished it off with a bit of milk.
Once it was blended together evenly, I spread it over the cooled crust in the tart pan.
I covered the tart with some plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill until it was time to eat. Then, I crumbled up the pecan brittle and stored it in an airtight container for later.
When it was time to serve it up, I whipped up some fresh whipped cream to top the tart with and I also melted a few caramels to drizzle over the top.
Just a few seconds in the microwave, and the caramels were ready to go. Just a word to the wise…the caramels cool quickly, so as you’re drizzling each slice, go for thin drizzles. We learned that thicker drizzles not only require some extra chewing action, but they also stick like cement to your plate! You could use a bottled caramel sauce, but I think the melted caramels makes for prettier presentation.
I, carefully, popped my tart out of the pan, sliced it up, topped it with dollops of the whipped cream, sprinkles of the pecan crumbles, and then finally, a drizzle of that sweet, sticky caramel.
Dessert was amazing! My girls and my husband went nuts over the tart and instantly declared it “A Keeper”. In the grand scheme of Thanksgiving desserts, it’s not much tougher than throwing a regular pumpkin pie together. Finding easy Thanksgiving recipes is always a plus, in my book. I like that, because of them, I can spend more time with those amazing people I’m so very thankful for.
CARAMEL PUMPKIN MOUSSE TART WITH PECAN CRUMBLES
Adapted from Kraftrecipes.com
- 60 Vanilla Wafers, divided
- ½ cup butter, melted, divided
- ⅓ cup pecans, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1¾ tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg. low-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp. vanilla
- 12 Kraft caramels
- 1 Tbsp.water
- Heat the oven to 350*.
- Crush 50 of the Vanilla Wafers into fine crumbs. Mix the crumbs with ⅓ cup of the melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch tart pan.
- Coarsely crush the remaining wafers. Place them in a medium bowl and add the remaining butter, pecans, brown sugar and ¼ tsp. of the pumpkin pie spice. Mix well. Spread the pecan mixture onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick spray.
- Place both the crust and the crumble in the oven and bake, 8-10 minutes, until both are browned lightly. Cool completely.
- Beat the cream cheese and pumpkin together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the remaining 1½ tsp. of pumpkin pie spice and the box of vanilla pudding and beat until blended. Gradually beat in the milk until smooth.
- Spread the pumpkin mixture into the tart pan. Cover the tart with plastic wrap and chill, at least 4 hours, until serving time.
- Meanwhile, break the cooled pecan crumble into small pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
- Before serving, beat the cream in a large bowl until it has soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until the cream is whipped.
- Place the caramels and water in a small bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on HIGH for 1½ minutes, or until melted. Stir until smooth.
- Slice the tart. Serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of the crumble and a good drizzle of the caramel.