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Pumpkin Mousse Tarts [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

For most people, Halloween treats are all about the kids (okay, and in some cases, such as my own, the dogs). We spend hours debating about which costume to dress them in (will it be Lady Gaga, Barbie, Michael Jackson, Barney, Batman or a Fairy Princess, or something else?), then escort our little ones throughout the neighborhood so that they can amass an outrageous number of mini candy bars, toffee pumpkins, tiny bags of sugar-laden popcorn or salt-saturated potato chips, plus a frightening number of many other sweet treats, most of which they’ll consume far too swiftly before the holiday is over.

For the rest of us (those already out of the single digit years), Halloween is often a time to dress up in crazy clothes we’d never wear any other time of year, watch scary movies that make us wince and shriek, and party until the wee hours of the morning of November 1st. But what about our treats?

These little tarts are the perfect Halloween confection for the adults in your group. They’re slightly indulgent without being unhealthy, and they feature two quintessential Halloween ingredients: pumpkin and (my favorite) chocolate. They’d be perfect on the buffet table at your Halloween bash, or for dessert after a tough night of trick or treating. And there’s absolutely nothing scary about them!

Pumpkin Mousse Tarts [Vegan, Gluten-Free]


For the Chocolate Shortbread Crust:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut oil, solid at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup (55 g) sorghum flour
  • 2 tablespoons (15 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) xanthan gum, optional
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) coconut (palm) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) baking powder
  • A pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 10-12 drops stevia liquid

For the Pumpkin Mousse Filling:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) plain or vanilla rice milk
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) organic corn starch or tapioca starch
  • 1 can (400 ml)full-fatt coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) packed pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2-1/4 teaspoon agar powder*

For the Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 ounce (35 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped (use chocolate chips if you can eat sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) agave nectar or maple syrup


To Make the Chocolate Shortbread Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line 5 individual tart tins with parchment or spray with nonstick spray. Place the tart tins on a cookie sheet.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the coconut oil, flours, cocoa, xanthan gum, palm sugar, baking powder and salt until evenly mixed and the coconut oil has broken up completely. Add the agave and stevia and whir again until a dough is formed (it may be a bit soft; this is fine).
  3. Divide dough into 5 equal portions and press evenly into the tart tins.  If necessary, wet your fingers to prevent sticking.  Prick the bottom of each tart 2-3 times with a fork.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until dry and beginning to brown on the edges, 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.

To Make the Pumpkin Mousse Filling:

  1. In a medium pot, blend the rice milk and starch until no lumps are visible.  Add the pumpkin and whisk until smooth, then add remaining ingredients and whisk again.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble; allow to bubble for 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, stirring once after 5 minutes.  Refrigerate until cold (the mixture will be solid). Break up the jelled mousse and place in a food processor, then process until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

To Make the Chocolate Ganache:

  1. Melt the chocolate and agave together in a small pot over lowest heat possible, stirring constantly, until melted.  Drizzle over assembled tarts.

To Assemble:

  1. Spoon or pipe the pumpkin mousse filling into the cool tart shells, then drizzle with the chocolate ganache. Makes 5-6 small tarts. Store, covered, in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.


Agar AgarPumpkin




Ricki Heller is the author of Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar (one of only three cookbooks endorsed by Ellen DeGeneres on her website) as well as three e-cookbooks. She writes the popular food blog Diet, Dessert and Dogs, where, for the past two years, she has chronicled her journey with candida and posted almost 500 sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, whole-foods recipes.



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10 comments on “Pumpkin Mousse Tarts [Vegan, Gluten-Free]”

Click to add comment
4 Years Ago

I tried this recipe tonight, making 12 tartlettes in a mini-muffin pan. The bottoms might be too thick. The mousse is setting up in the fridge...but I think I missed something, because it's not sweet at all. Was the coconut milk supposed to be sweetened? I used plain coconut milk and plain rice milk, not vanilla. Please help!

01 Sep 2012

Oh, no, it looks like the stevia has been omitted in the recipe! For sweetness, you can add up to 20 drops of plain or vanilla stevia liquid.

4 Years Ago

Wow. I mean WOW. These look so incredible. If they taste half as good as they look ... wow.

4 Years Ago

This looks like the PERFECT bite! Love the touch of the ganache.

4 Years Ago

These look AMAZING! I want to have a dinner party, just so I can serve them. Gorgeous and I love the ingredients. Mmmmm!

Ricki Heller, Cookbook Author
24 Oct 2011

Thanks, Maggie! They were pretty yummy. ;)

Shirley @ gfe
5 Years Ago

Oh, Ricki, I would so love to be around after you're done with your photo shoots! ;-) Those tarts look fabulous. We adults are so lucky when we get Halloween treats like your pumpkin mousse tarts! Shirley

Ricki Heller, Cookbook Author
24 Oct 2011

I wish you could be around, too, Shirley! I'd love to share. :)

Ricki Heller, Cookbook Author
5 Years Ago

Thanks, Hallie! Hope you enjoy them! :)

Hallie @ Daily Bites
5 Years Ago

Gorgeous, Ricki!! I *must* try these soon. :)


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