“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
During this season of giving thanks, well for this week at least, I am thankful for pumpkin! From Starbucks’ infinitely sippable Pumpkin Spice Latte to Publix’s deliciously scoopable Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream, I adore all things pumpkin. Nothing embodies Fall quite like it.
Living in Florida where it’s basically Summer all year long only leaves a small window of opportunity to indulge my enduring penchant for pumpkin. So when Fall finally arrives, this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Trifle goes right to the top of my “To Do” list! This dish has actually replaced pumpkin pie at our Thanksgiving table, yes – you heard me – r e p l a c e d it! That’s how utterly delicious it is but before you start to question my sanity (we can get to that some other time), let me explain.
I’m a big fan of the trifle for a few reasons: (1) it allows you to combine a variety of your favorite flavors and textures in one dish, (2) it has a fabulous “wow” factor and looks beautiful on your holiday table, (3) it can be made the day before your meal and only improves overnight in the fridge as the flavors meld, and (4) it also travels remarkably well and makes an excellent choice if you have to bring dessert to a lucky friend or family member’s house.
Historically speaking, the trifle originated in England in the 1500’s and evolved from a similar dessert known as a “fool” (which might explain why Steve likes it so much). Initially this dessert was made of thick cream flavored with rosewater, sugar and ginger. It wasn’t until decades later that eggs were added and a custard was poured over bread soaked in alcohol. While some people consider the inclusion of gelatin to be a recent variation, the earliest known recipe to include jelly dates from 1747, and the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote of trifles containing jelly in 1861. Some trifles contain alcohol such as port, or, more commonly, sweet sherry or Madeira. Non-alcoholic versions may use sweet juices or soft drinks such as ginger ale, since some form of liquid is necessary to moisten the cake layers. Today, the ingredients are usually arranged in layers with fruit and bread or cake on the bottom, and custard and cream on top.
In order to display this dessert’s beautifully colorful layers, I recommend investing in a trifle bowl designed specifically for this purpose. Crate and Barrel’s Miranda Trifle Bowl ($29.95) is a great basic to add to your culinary repertoire but any tall glass bowl will work. Once you discover how easy trifles are to make and how delicious they can be I think you’ll be hooked!
To pair with the Pumpkin Pie Trifle, a Late Harvest Gewürztraminer or Ice Wine will work very nicely. I hope you enjoy this recipe and you and you family have a very delicious and Happy Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin Pie Trifle
2 (15-ounce) packages pumpkin bread mix
1 (4.6-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
2 (15-ounce) cans pure pumpkin
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) container whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)
1/2 cup gingersnaps, roughly chopped
Bake the pumpkin bread according to the package directions and cool completely (can be done the day before you assemble the trifle). Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool (can also be done a day in advance). Stir the canned pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices into the pudding. Cube 1 batch of the pumpkin bread and arrange in the bottom of a trifle bowl. Depending on the size of your bowl, you may have some leftover. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the pumpkin bread and smooth to make a relatively even layer. Then add a layer of whipped topping on top so from the outside of the bowl you can see two distinct layers. Repeat with the remaining pumpkin bread, pudding, and whipped topping. If preparing the day before, simply cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Once ready to serve, sprinkle the top with the chopped gingersnaps. Enjoy!