Pumpkin bavarian with caramelized pecans and pistachios


I am going to spend Thanksgiving with  friends and I am supposed to bring the pumpkin dessert. The problem is I am not excited about pumpkin pie. I just don’t feel like making one and buying one is out of the question, most of the time the crust is disgusting. So this dessert is my attempt at escaping the pumpkin pie chore. I thought of making a bavarian but then I had no recipe for one with pumpkin! so, this is the recipe for a pumpkin pie filling with the addition of gelatin and cream to make it ..a bavarian! Simple, or like the French say, le tour est joué (there, you have it!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I consulted Wayne Gisslen’s book Professional Baking and adapted both the recipe and the quantity to fit a gathering of 8 instead of 150.



  • 13 ounces of  canned or fresh  pumpkin (cooked and drained)
  • 6 ounces of brown sugar
  • 4 ounces of milk
  • 4 ounces of egg yolks or 2 eggs and 3 egg yolks
  • 10 grams of gelatin (1 tablespoon)
  • 2 1/2 ounce of water (80ml)
  • Spices: one teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of ginger, a pinch of cloves, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces of whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (optional)

METHOD: Prepare the bavarian at least one day ahead and up to 2 weeks ahead.

  1. Start by measuring all the ingredients, preferably on a kitchen scale. Place the eggs and sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and start mixing for a minute or so until well mixed. Add the milk and pumpkin and spices to the mixture and mix all well.
  2. Pour the water in a small measuring cup or bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top.
  3. Grease the mold that will be used for the bavarian.
  4. Heat the egg and pumpkin mixture in a double-boiler or a pan with a very heavy bottom or a pan over a larger pan filled with about one inch of hot water. This will keep the temperature even and will prevent your eggs from curdling.
  5. Heat the mixture, stirring it constantly, until it steams and thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in it shows 185F.
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat. Now place the gelatin and water in the microwave for 10 seconds until the gelatin is melted. Pour the gelatin and water mixture into the egg and pumpkin mixture, stirring vigorously to mix it evenly. Let the mixture cool. You can either set it in the fridge or on top of a bowl filled with ice cubes and some water. Watch it and stir it from time to time because it will set within 15 minutes that way.
  7. Whip the cream until it is firm and thick adding a couple tablespoons of sugar if you wish.
  8. Check the pumpkin mixture. If it is getting firm, it is time to fold the whipping cream (before it gets too firm and then it will be impossible to fold it in)
  9. Using a rubber spatula or a wire whip, fold the cream into the pumpkin gently until both are completely mixed. If you want the color to be more orange, you can drop a couple drops of red or orange and brown food color and mix it well.
  10. Pour the pumpkin bavarian into a (greased) mold and cover with plastic wrap and a plastic bag and place in the freezer for up to 2 weeks until ready to serve. If you plan to serve it soon, it needs a few hours to firm up, preferably overnight, in the refrigerator.

I consulted Roland Mesnier Dessert University for the caramelized pecans and the sugar decoration.


  • 1 cup of pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup of superfine sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or a drop of vanilla extract (optional)

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  1. In a heavy saucepan combine the pecans and the sugar. If using, scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan.
  2. Heat the stove to medium-high and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved and amber in color, about 7 minutes.
  3. Pour the coated and shiny nuts in a sheet pan (ungreased) and let them cool.
  4. Keep in an airtight container for one month at room temperature.


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water plus 1/6 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup plus one tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon strained fresh lemon juice



  1. Place the sugar and water in a small heavy-bottomed pot. Stir the mixture gently with your hands until it is mixed well. Hold the pot with one hand, bring it close to the faucet and wet your other hand and wipe the sides of the pot, to make sure you don’t feel any more sugar crystals clinging to the sides. Repeat the operation as often as needed.
  2. Place the pot on the stove and set it on high heat. Cover the pot but leave a small opening for the steam to escape. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, uncover the pot and pour the corn syrup in the center of the mixture. Make sure the corn syrup has dissolved (it will take about one minute) and then cover the pot partially again. Cook without stirring until the mixture is pale yellow or a candy thermometer registers 310 degrees. It will take about 20 minutes of cooking.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the lemon juice shaking the pot back and forth until the juice is mixed in well. Boil the mixture again for about 4 minutes until it is pale yellow or 315 degrees on the candy thermometer.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and set it on a cold surface or in a larger bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.
  5. Lay a large piece of aluminum foil or a silpat (thin rubber sheets) and with a spoon, lift some sugar and drizzle it on the foil in any shape you want. Now is the time to let your inner child free.
  6. Wait a minute for the decoration to stiffen and use immediately.



You can keep the sugar decorations for a few days in a closed container.

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  1. Posted November 25, 2009 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    Stunned once more. Great decoration. I like your presentation.

  2. Posted November 25, 2009 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Ton dessert est fatastique, appetissant et superbement presente
    Un remarquable travail, bravo
    Tres bonne journee Doria

  3. Posted November 25, 2009 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I love gelatin desserts and yours sounds great. Beautiful presentation as well.

  4. Posted November 25, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Looks decadent! I am sure this is going to win over pumpkin pie lovers at your party:)

  5. Posted November 25, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Your bavarian sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. dana
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Happy Thanksgiving, Joumana. This is a work of art that will for sure wow your friends.

  7. Posted November 26, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Looks superb! You are a very good cook!!

  8. Posted November 26, 2009 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    It’s a nice idea to make something different. It looks quite stunning with the toffee decoration!

  9. Posted November 26, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I love this recipe, what an original and delicious alternative for Thanksgiving dessert.

  10. Posted November 26, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Very creative, I love the color.

  11. Posted November 27, 2009 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    You are so creative! I love your recipes and specially this one :) You definitely gave Thanksgiving a taste of Beirut ;) Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  12. Posted November 27, 2009 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    oh wow this is fab, what a great job you did thanks for visiting my blog, I adore Lebanese food, will follow along


  13. Alice Kezhaya
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    This was truly delicious! Very light yet full of flavor! Thank you! Make it again :)

  14. Posted November 27, 2009 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Ici aussi, tout est raffinement… même si mon anglais me fait parfois défaut, je pense avoir compris et ce bavarois est magnifique.

  15. Joumana
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Mamina, au bout de chaque article il y a un traducteur qu’il suffit de cliquer!

  16. Posted November 27, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful idea,bet your buddies devoured every last bit of it,yum!

  17. Posted November 28, 2009 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    So pretty!

  18. Posted November 28, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    WOW ! looks like some art work….specially like those sugar decorations…

  19. Posted December 10, 2009 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I was going to comment on how i like pumkin filling, this being a seasonal dessert and all but you wowed me with your spun sugar…awesome!

  20. Posted March 11, 2011 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Un dessert super original !!! Vu d’ ici on est bluffer ont dirait un flan chocolat….

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