Serves 12 to 14
- 1 package (7 to 8 ounces) all-butter, real vanilla, shortbread cookies, such as Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies
- 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pumpkin Mousse Layer:
- 1 can (16 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 envelope gelatin dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 cup whipping cream, whipped softly with a little confectioner’s sugar to sweeten
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter a 10-inch springform pan.
- For the crust, pulverize the cookies in the food processor (or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin) to fine crumbs. Mix the crumbs (there’ll be about 1 1/2 cups) with the melted butter to thoroughly moisten them. Press over the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the prepared pan.
- For the cheesecake layer, beat the cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the large bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and light. Beat in 4 eggs and vanilla until smooth. Pour over the crust and bake in the center of the oven until set (but still a little wiggly in the center), about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the pumpkin mousse layer, combine the pumpkin, egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the sugar, milk, salt and cinnamon in a medium-size saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and just beginning to boil (do not boil hard). Remove from heat and stir in dissolved gelatin until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and cool to room temperature.
- Beat the eggs whites in the large bowl of an electric mixer until frothy. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture. Spoon over the cheesecake layer and smooth the top. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or overnight.
- To serve, cover the top of the torte with whipped cream and pipe rosettes of whipped cream around the edge.