Pumpkin Delight features light, creamy layers of whipped cream, spiced pumpkin, and sweet cheesecake pudding, all on top of a crisp pecan crust! Served chilled, this is an easy, no-bake pumpkin dessert you’ll crave.
Why You’ll Adore This Scrumptious Pumpkin Delight Recipe
With its gorgeous combination of flavors and textures, there’s a whole lot to love here! Let’s take a look:
- The Taste of Fall: Pumpkin, people, pumpkin! This dish takes pumpkin spice to a whole new level, pairing it with pecans and cheesecake, and oodles of other creamy fall yumminess.
- Amazing Textures: Starting with a crumbly pecan crust, followed by a layer of sweet cheesecake, creamy pumpkin pudding and fluffy whipped cream, each bite of this dessert is a beautiful combination of textures that’ll have you swooning.
- Pretty Presentation: Cut into this dessert, and you’ll reveal lovely layers that are so appetizing!
- Perfect for the Holidays: Pumpkin desserts are in demand for Halloween and Thanksgiving especially, but they’re wonderful for any special occasion. Make this, and you’ll give pumpkin pie a run for its money.
What Is Pumpkin Delight?
This pumpkin delight recipe is a no-bake dessert that is, well, delightful! There are various versions out there, but most of them include a pumpkin layer, a whipped cream layer, and maybe a couple of other creamy layers. This one has a crunchy pecan crust and a decadent cheesecake pudding layer that’s so luscious. If you like silky-smooth, no-bake desserts, this one is sure to become a favorite.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
Prepare to be wowed, because this recipe is a showstopper! For full ingredient amounts and directions, scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Pecans: Halves or pieces, either is fine.
- Graham Crackers: I use plain grahams, but cinnamon graham crackers would also be good.
- Brown Sugar: Use light brown for a milder flavor, or dark brown for a stronger molasses taste.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can use store-bought, or mix your own. See the Tips section below for a quick recipe for that!
- Butter: Salted butter, melted.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- Gelatin: To help the whipped cream stay light and fluffy, without breaking down.
- Heavy Cream: Make sure you get heavy whipping cream as half and half will not whip up.
- Sugar: I used granulated sugar, but powdered sugar will also work.
- Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor.
- Pecans: Chopped, this is an optional topping.
- Cream Cheese: Have your cream cheese at room temperature, for a smooth, creamy layer.
- Powdered Sugar: Make sure you use powdered sugar for this, not granulated. Powdered sugar dissolves more easily.
- Milk: Just a tiny bit, to thin the cheesecake mixture as needed.
- Vanilla: Again, you want pure vanilla extract for this, or you could use vanilla bean paste.
- Stabilized Whipped Cream: Made as directed above.
- Instant Vanilla Pudding Powder: Or you can also use white chocolate flavor.
- Whole Milk: Whole milk makes it creamy, but you could use reduced fat if necessary.
- Pumpkin Puree: You can use homemade pumpkin puree or store bought canned pumpkin, but you do not want to use pumpkin pie filling.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: Again, homemade is fine, or you could use store-bought pumpkin pie spice.
- Stabilized Whipped Cream: From the batch that you made.
How to Make Pumpkin Delight
You’ll need to make each layer and carefully spread them one on top of the other to make this delicate dessert. Here’s how:
- Make the Pecan Crust: Pulse the graham crackers and pecans until you produce a fine crumb. Then pulse in the brown sugar, pumpkin spice, and butter. Press into a glass dish, and bake until golden brown.
- Make the Stabilized Whipped Cream: Add water to a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Stir it in, and melt it for a few seconds in the microwave. Then whip the cream to soft peaks, with the sugar and vanilla extract. Drizzle in the gelatin and continue beating to stiff peaks.
- Mix Up the Cheesecake Layer: Place the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a bowl, and beat until smooth, beginning on low speed and increasing to high speed. Fold in some of the whipped cream until just combined. Pour this over the crust, smooth it out, and put it in the freezer.
- Beat the Pumpkin Layer: Beat the instant pudding and milk on high for a couple of minutes, and then mix in the pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice. Fold in one cup of stabilized whipped cream. Pour this over the cheesecake layer, smooth it out, and place it in the freezer again.
- Add the Whipped Cream Layer: Gently scoop the leftover stabilized whip cream on top of the chilled pumpkin filling layer. Spread it out evenly. Cover the pumpkin delight with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Enjoy! Sprinkle with more pecans, if you like, and then cut into squares and serve.
Tips and Tricks
These helpful recipe tips will ensure flawless, gorgeous pumpkin delight every time!
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you do not have pumpkin pie spice, you can mix your own by combining 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.
- Crust Tip: The firmer you press down on the pecan graham cracker crumbs before baking, the less likely your crust will crumble apart during serving.
- Working with Gelatin: Once you melt your gelatin it is important to work swiftly as you don’t want the gelatin to begin to congeal before you add it to the heavy cream.
- Whipping Cream: Don’t over-mix the whipped cream or it will begin to separate and you will end up with butter. Stop once you reach stiff peaks (peaks that stand straight up and don’t fall over once you stop mixing).
- Assembly: The more careful you are in spreading each layer and not disturbing the layer below, the better your final serving will look.
- Serving: You will get the cleanest cuts by washing and drying your knife between cuts.
- Make Ahead: The longer this dessert stays in the fridge, the better it sets up. Making it a day ahead of time is perfect. To serve it the same day, I would suggest placing it in the freezer for two hours and then in the fridge for about an hour.
- Cool Whip: Feel free to replace the stabilized whip cream with Cool Whip.
Storing This Dish
To store, cover the pumpkin delight tightly with plastic wrap, or carefully transfer to an airtight container. Store it in the fridge for food safety. It will keep for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze Pumpkin Delight?
Sure! You can freeze pumpkin delight whole, or in individual squares. It will keep for up to three months. Just be aware that the texture might slightly change after freezing and thawing.
More Perfect Pumpkin Desserts
- Iced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- Pumpkin Earthquake Cake
- Best Pumpkin Bread
- Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Pie Cookies
- Pumpkin Roll with Toffee Filling
- Easy Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
- 1 cup pecans
- 9 graham cracker sheets
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 8 tablespoons salted butter, melted
Stabilized Whipped Cream:
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon gelatin
- 3 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped pecans, optional topping
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups stabilized whipped cream
- Heat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with non- stick spray. Set aside.
- Pecan Crust: Place pecans and graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until you produce a fine crumb. Add in the brown sugar and pumpkin spice. Pulse a couple of times to combine.
- Pour melted butter into food processor and pulse until combined. 4.Add pecan graham cracker mix to prepared casserole dish and press down using the bottom of a glass cup to compress tightly and in to the corners.
- Bake in oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Stabilized Whipped Cream: Add water to a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin overtop. Give it a quick stir to make sure all the gelatin is mixed in.
- Place bowl in the microwave and heat for 15 seconds. Give it a quick stir and make sure no granules are visible, if there are a few granules left not melted, heat for 5 more seconds. Stir again and set aside.
- Pour heavy cream into a large mixing bowl. Add the granulated sugar and vanilla extract. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, whip the cream on high until soft peaks form.
- Slowly drizzle in the liquid gelatin mixture while beating on low, until all the gelatin has all been added. Bring the mixer speed back up to high and continue mixing until stiff peaks form. Set aside in the fridge.
- Cheesecake Layer: Place cream cheese into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add in powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Beginning on low, and increasing gradually to high, use an electric mixer to whip ingredients into a smooth creamy consistency.
- Fold in 1 1/2 cups of stabilized whip cream, until just combined. (Do not over stir.)
- Pour cheesecake mixture on top of the completely cooled pecan crust and smooth out into an even layer with a rubber or offset spatula. Place dish in freezer while you work on next step.
- Pumpkin Layer: Empty packet of instant pudding into a medium mixing bowl. Add milk and beat on high with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. The mixture will be fairly thick.
- Mix in pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice until well combined. Fold in 1 cup stabilized whip cream, until just combined. (Do not over stir.)
- Pour Pumpkin mixture gently over top of the cheesecake layer. Gently spread the pumpkin layer evenly with a rubber or offset spatula, being careful to not disturb the bottom layer more than necessary.
- Return dish to freezer for 15 minutes.
- Whip Cream Layer: Remove dish from freezer. Gently scoop the leftover stabilized whip cream on top of the chilled pumpkin filling layer. Using a rubber or offset spatula gently spread the layer evenly.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Once set, sprinkle top with optional chopped pecans and cut into squares and serve.
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