Pumpkin Tiramisu

October  3, 2022
5 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Serves 9
Author Notes

Pumpkin Tiramisu is the creamy, elegant, no-bake, holiday-spiced dessert that you didn’t even know you were missing. And in this instance, it is also one of the easiest. Moreover, pumpkin tiramisu is even better than traditional, an unpopular opinion for sure, but one that just needs to be voiced (sorry, haters). A can of pumpkin purée, plus some warm and toasty spices, is all it takes to carry this already fabulously simple and delicious treat straight over the top, in all the best ways.

Here, to avoid making a sabayon, a spiced pumpkin mascarpone whipped cream is layered with ladyfingers, providing the dessert with all the traditional tiramisu feels, but without the extra (timely) stovetop cooking step (I am a step avoider from way back, as is evidenced here). Room temperature mascarpone cheese is whisked together with heavy cream, pumpkin purée, and spices and in just a couple of minutes, a fluffy orange-hued cream is ready for prime time. Crunchy ladyfingers (I’m partial to Savoiardi) are then briefly dunked in a bourbon coffee mixture and snugly placed in the bottom of a baking dish. I like to use boiling water and a generous helping of espresso powder to make the coffee for the extra strong flavor it imparts (and because I’m not the “I have a cup of hot coffee hanging out on my kitchen counter and want to incorporate it into my baking” kind of person). Although traditional tiramisu calls for marsala wine, I like bourbon here. But you do you—even if “doing you” calls for leaving out the booze altogether (no judgment). just add a little extra boiling water or coffee to ensure you have enough liquid for soaking.

The soaked fingers are then topped with half the cream; followed by more fingers and cream. To finish the dessert, I sift a thick and luxurious coating of Dutch process cocoa powder over the final layer of cream, just as I would when assembling a traditional tiramisu. Not only is the contrast of the dark brown cocoa with the orange cream exquisitely beautiful to behold (hyperbolic but true), but pumpkin and chocolate are a match made in flavor heaven and 100 percent contribute to the next-level status of this treat. I like Dutch process for this application, due to its deep brown color. It goes without saying, however, that if chocolate and pumpkin are not your jam, by all means sift some cinnamon over the top, rather than the cocoa powder. But no matter what you choose to sift, pumpkin tiramisu deserves one of the coveted spots at your holiday dessert table—and your friends and family will thank you for including it.
Jessie Sheehan

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water, or brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup bourbon, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces crisp ladyfingers
  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder, for dusting
  1. Whisk together the water, espresso powder, and bourbon, if using, in a small shallow bowl. Set aside.
  2. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Place the mascarpone in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir it a few times with a flexible spatula to loosen it. Add the cream, pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and vanilla. Whip on medium to medium-high speed until medium peaks form, scraping the bowl periodically.
  3. Dip half of the ladyfingers, one at a time, in the coffee mixture for 2 to 3 seconds, and then place the coffee-soaked fingers on the bottom of a 2-quart rectangular baking dish, breaking them as necessary to fit snugly.
  4. Evenly spread half of the pumpkin mascarpone whipped cream on top of the fingers. Repeat with the remaining fingers and whipped cream. Smooth out the top layer of cream with a spatula. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  5. Using a small fine mesh sieve or a cocoa powder shaker/duster, generously dust the top of the cake with a thick layer of cocoa powder before serving. Keep the tiramisu covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • drbabs
  • Jessie Sheehan
    Jessie Sheehan
  • Alix Augustine
    Alix Augustine
  • Lwitteman
Bio: Jessie Sheehan is the author of The Vintage Baker and Icebox Cakes. Her new easy-peasy baking book, Snackable Bakes, hits shelves in spring 2022. She contributes to the Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Food Network, and the Kitchn, among others.

18 Reviews

Lwitteman October 29, 2023
In the frig for serving tomorrow night. The pumpkin layer is lovely and light. Looking forward to it!
Jessie S. October 30, 2023
Yay! Hope u like!
Melinda November 2, 2022
My daughter made this for me, substituting chai tea for the coffee. It was excellent! She made the recipe, as written, for her Friendsgiving, and everyone loved it!!
Jessie S. November 3, 2022
Yay! That makes me so happy and I love the chai substitution! Brilliant idea.
Eryn October 30, 2022
This recipe is unfortunately flawed. Whipping the heavy cream together with the pumpkin, mascarpone, sugar and spices yielded a broken, lumpy filling that couldn’t be smoothed out through any means.
At a minimum the cream should be whipped separately and then the rest of the premixed filling ingredients should be carefully folded in. Even then more emulsifying action might be necessary to smoothly incorporate the pumpkin into the filling—most other recipes seem to use egg yolks.
I cannot recommend following this recipe as written to anyone.
Jessie S. October 30, 2022
so sorry the recipe did not work for you .
margotjane November 3, 2022
I unfortunately had a bad experience with it as well. I was wondering why the filling mixture wasn't getting fluffy. I think it might have been too high a proportion of pumpkin? I loved the idea of it, just didn't turn out.
Jessie S. November 3, 2022
So sorry to hear that.
Alix A. November 23, 2022
I was worried about that. 2 tips: 1) your mascarpone might not have gotten all the way to room temp. 2) I actually started by whipping the mascarpone a little bit at the beginning then added the sugar, and whipped that together, then added the cream in 2 parts. Doing all the ingredients at once makes it hard to hydrate everything properly.
Jessie S. November 23, 2022
thanks Alix. yes - the cheese must be room temp as the recipe states and the mascarpone should be stirred and broken up a bit either with a spatula, as the recipe states, or with a mixer, as you suggest.
Alix A. November 23, 2022
For the record, it’s the day before thanksgiving so I haven’t hard the full dessert but the pumpkin cream is SOOOOO TASTY!
Jessie S. November 23, 2022
Sarah October 18, 2022
This was a great and even my pumpkin denier family members enjoyed it. Mascarpone hack of sorts - DO NOT COME FOR ME, NOT EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD GROCERY STORE CARRIES FANCY CHEESE - room temp cream cheese and a tbsp or two of sour cream. It worked beautifully. Thanks for the recipe!
drbabs October 18, 2022
I think that was a great alternative to expensive mascarpone.
Jessie S. October 18, 2022
great hack!!! love this so much. thanks for sharing.
Jessie S. October 18, 2022
me too!!
drbabs October 4, 2022
Hi Jesse. This sounds so good. And no raw eggs! Is that 1 1/2 CUPS of heavy cream?
Jessie S. October 9, 2022
Yes! It is! Sorry about that!!