Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3 cups heavy cream, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup brewed espresso or dark roast coffee
3 tablespoons brandy
3 (7-oz.) packages crisp ladyfingers, divided
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Garnish: ground nutmeg
How to Make It
Whisk together sugar and flour in a large heavy saucepan. Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and 2 cups cream in a bowl. Whisk cream mixture into sugar mixture, and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 15 minutes or until very thick. (Mixture will come to a simmer during the last 2 to 3 minutes.) Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla bean paste, and transfer to a medium bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on warm custard (to prevent a film from forming). Cool completely (about 1 1/2 hours).
Whisk cream cheese into cream mixture until smooth; whisk in pumpkin.
Stir together espresso and brandy. Brush flat sides of about 24 ladyfingers with espresso mixture. Stand lady fingers around edge of a 10-inch springform pan, placing rounded sides against pan. Line bottom of pan with additional ladyfingers, cutting if necessary to cover bottom of pan completely. Brush espresso mixture over ladyfingers on bottom of pan.
Spread one-third of cream cheese mixture over ladyfingers on bottom. Repeat layers twice with remaining ladyfingers, espresso mixture, and cream cheese mixture, ending with cream cheese mixture. (Reserve any remaining ladyfingers for another use.) Cover and chill 4 hours to 2 days.
Beat remaining 1 cup cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Dollop over cream cheese mixture.
I have made this for thanksgiving for the past 2 years and it is always a hit! The recipe is fairly easy, and my kiddos love to help "paint" the ladyfingers. I make this a day ahead and cover and store in the fridge. I whip up the whipped topping shortly before serving. I think the taste is wonderful, but I like the idea of adding pumpkin pie spice as a previous reviewer suggested. I will try that next time.
This was fabulous! The only thing I did differently was add 1 teas pumpkin pie spice to the pumpkin & cream cheese filling. I think it would have been pretty blah without it. I tasted it after I mixed it up & it definitely needed something, and that was it!! One other thing I might recommend is to not be afraid of the coffee/brandy that you brush the ladyfingers with. I dabbed a bit on each, but next time I'm saturating the top of the ladyfinger. If you have a hard time finding ladyfingers, ask the bakery in your grocery store. This was dessert for Christmas dinner and it will be the start of a new tradition!! It's that good!!!!
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