One week to Turkey Day! When I think Fall and Thanksgiving, I automatically think of pie. It's engrained in all of us, and for good reason! Pie is amazing! I do, however, like to think outside the box a bit. I have lots of wonderful pie recipes to help sweeten your holiday (see my Thanksgiving Desserts post!), but I want to give you some unique options, too. These Pumpkin Tiramisu Cream Puffs fit the bill nicely!
I wanted a nod to the traditional tiramisu flavors of espresso, marsala wine, mascarpone, and cocoa powder, but with a twist. If you're going to put a fall twist on anything, there's a good bet pumpkin will be involved! 😉 These Pumpkin Tiramisu Cream Puffs are brushed with espresso and marsala wine, filled with spiced pumpkin mascarpone mousse, then dusted with cocoa powder!
Making the Choux Pastry
The choux pastry for the cream puffs isn’t hard to make, but it can be a little finicky. Check out the recipe notes for some helpful hints! I prefer using a slipat over lining my baking sheets with parchment paper, since they help reduce the amount of browning on the bottoms of the cream puffs, and I can reuse them. If you’re interested in getting one or two for yourself, you can find them here.
Making the Pumpkin Tiramisu Filling
The filling comes together in a flash! It's just a quick mix of mascarpone, pumpkin, sugar, and spices, all lightened up (in a textural sense, anyway 😉 ) with some freshly whipped cream.
I love vanilla bean paste, so *of course* I added some to the recipe. It's tasty without the vanilla bean price tag (and it pretty much stays good forever). If you prefer to substitute, you could use 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. If you'd like to get some vanilla bean paste and you can't find it in your local grocery store (I never can), you can find some here.
To add the magic of marsala and espresso to the cream puffs, I decided to dissolve some espresso powder in the wine. My reasoning for this it twofold, to get the maximum flavor with a minimum of liquid. I've found it difficult to find espresso powder--especially one that isn't already hard as a rock--at my local grocery store. I use King Arthur Baking's brand (link here), as it's very fine and made specifically for baked goods.
For the Best Pumpkin Cream Puffs
Any cream puff will get soggy if you make it too far in advance. This is extra true for these, given that they are brushed with the marsala wine/espresso mixture before being filled. Brush the mixture on sparingly (it has a strong flavor, so you don't need much!), and fill the cream puffs as closely to serving time as you can! Once they're on your table, I don't think these little babies will last too long. 😉
Other posts you may like:
Cream puff recipe adapted from Pierre Herme Pastries (link here).
Pumpkin Tiramisu Cream Puffs
Pumpkin Mascarpone Mousse:
- 2 tablespoon marsala wine
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder (see note)
For Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry):
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheet with parchment or silpats (see note) and set aside.
- Combine water, milk, sugar, salt, and butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. While still on the heat, add the flour. Quickly beat mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth and shiny. Mixture will pull away from the sides of the pan. (Do not underbeat or cream puffs may deflate later!)
- Once mixture is thoroughly combined, scrape it into the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn the mixer on low speed. With mixer running, add eggs one a time, allowing each egg to incorporate and mixture to become smooth before adding the next.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag and cut a hole in the end (about ⅓" across). Pipe mounds of choux pastry at least 2" apart, each about 2" across and ¾" tall (see notes). With those dimensions, you get about 24 cream puffs.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and turn the oven off. Bake 10 minutes with the oven off. Turn oven back on to 350° F and bake another 10 minutes. Then, turn the oven off again, leaving the cream puffs to finish baking for another 10 minutes (This is 30 minutes in the oven total). Resist the urge to open the oven until baking is complete, as this could deflate your cream puffs!
- Once the cream puffs are baked, remove from the oven and poke a hole in the top of each with a toothpick. This will allow any residual steam to escape (otherwise, your cream puffs could deflate...sensing a trend here?). Allow cream puffs to cool completely.
- In a large bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese and pumpkin. Stir to combine.
- Add sugar and spices (cinnamon, ginger, and cloves). Stir to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cold cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean paste (see note). Using the whisk attachment, whip to soft peaks.
- Add the whipped cream to the pumpkin mixture in two additions, carefully folding them together so as not to deflate the whipped cream. Continue folding until completely combined. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag, if desired.
- Split the cooled the cream puffs with a thin, serrated knife.
- In a small bowl, combine the marsala wine and espresso powder (see note) and stir to combine. Brush the inside of each cream puff with the espresso/marsala wine mixture (see note).
- Pipe the filling into the bottom of each of the cream puffs (or just dollop that goodness in with a spoon!).
- Place the tops of the cream puffs on the filling, then dust with the cocoa powder.Enjoy!