Thanksgiving Deliciousness: Pumpkin Pie Trifle!

Pumpkin Pie Trifle, Thanksgiving, Dessert

“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.
Trifle, Dessert, Illustration

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!

5 Tips for Being a Gracious Holiday Guest!

Every major holiday on the calendar seems to culminate in a meal and usually one of epic proportion. From a Fourth of July cookout to Thanksgiving turkey dinner, friends and family gather around the holiday table at someone’s home and the majority of the work, by default, tends to fall upon that person or family. Sometimes the Host or Hostess willingly volunteers for the task, however, sometimes…not so much. Out of respect for our Holiday Hosts and Hostesses who so bravely take it upon themselves to entertain and feed the masses this Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember the etiquette of being a Gracious Holiday Guest.

I recently spoke with some friends who love to entertain and often host holiday family dinners. Under the veil of anonymity, they shared some of their biggest pet peeves and offered suggestions on “good guesting”:

1.) Avoid placing multiple calls to your Host or Hostess in the hours before the meal. In the hours and crucial last minutes before the holiday meal hits the table, your host or hostess is most likely in the kitchen figuring out how to make gravy for the first time, trying to use the fire extinguisher or dealing with another culinary calamity. So if you need directions to the house, crank up that GPS on your phone or call another guest at the dinner. A quick call to see if you can pick anything up on your way over is always appreciated but don’t be offended if your call goes straight to voice mail. “One of my dear friends would always want to chat on the phone on her drive over to my house for our holiday meal. I politely had to tell her I was trying to deal with some last minute issues and her feelings would be hurt.” Its best to be considerate and save chit chat for the dessert course and/or the day after.

2.) When bringing wine to a holiday gathering, don’t be hurt if it doesn’t make it to the holiday table. Your host or hostess most likely has all the wines for the evening already selected and possibly even decanted. If you would like to bring a special bottle to share that night, call or e-mail your host/hostess a day or so in advance and ask. They would probably greatly appreciate it just don’t throw them a curve ball the evening of when everything has been carefully planned out. You also run the risk of that special wine getting lost in the stack of hostess gifts as one friend reports, “I once brought a bottle of 1982 Bordeaux to a holiday dinner and it was never opened and I never got it back!” Better to plan ahead than risk losing a gem of a bottle. However, if you really wanted to drink a particular wine that night, go ahead and open it, just don’t leave that task to your host or hostess.

3.) Don’t expect to eat for days on the leftovers you bring home from your Host or Hostesses’ house. After slaving at the stove for a few days in a row to create a Thanksgiving or other holiday feast, leftovers are in many ways the “Chef’s reward.” While it’s always nice to send guests home with a little something, and its always flattering to be asked, don’t expect to be making turkey sandwiches for the better part of the following week from those leftovers. “I once had guests show up at my house for Thanksgiving with their own ‘super-sized’ to-go containers,” says one hostess. “They also brought a case of beer and took home the bottles they didn’t drink rather than leaving them as a show of thanks. I was appalled!” So no matter how delicious the meal was, practice a little restraint in your expectations when it comes to the leftovers.

4.) Always bring a little something for your Host or Hostess. If you’ve ever undertaken the arduous task of preparing a traditional holiday meal, you know the Herculean effort that is often involved. Sure your hostess might play it off like she rolled out of bed at noon and just “threw something together” but let me assure you, that is probably not the case. Aside from the food, the house also needs to look great, the table needs to be set and all family members need to look presentable before guests start to arrive. For those who have never assumed this task trust me, your Host and/or Hostess deserves some serious props! Something as simple as a small flower arrangement (never flowers that need to be arranged!); a bottle of wine or Champagne; or even a gift certificate for a manicure at a local spa all make very thoughtful gifts and you’re sure to get invited back.

5.) Don’t drink too much. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the holiday cheer and we’ve all probably been there once (ok, maybe twice). But please don’t make the mistake of overindulging to the point your Host or Hostess needs to worry about you getting home safely. Don’t get me wrong, tis the season to enjoy each other’s company as well as a few drinks or glasses of wine, however you want to avoid a “Drunk Uncle” type of situation if you can (see video). In order to avoid these episodes, have a talk with said family member before the big day and express how you feel about their behavior. Maybe even assign another family member to keep tabs on them and make sure they get home safely.

I hope these tips help to make your holiday season more cheerful and big thanks to all the Hostesses willing to share their advice. Are there any “pet peeves” you’d like to share? Please do so in the comment section below and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


7 Thanksgiving Wine Pairings & 2 Tempting Turkey Recipes!

Thanksgiving is less than a week away – do you have your turkey recipe and wine pairings all picked out? If not, never fear! The Glamorous Gourmet is here to help you out of your culinary quandary. First, let’s talk wine:

Trying to find a wine to pair with such an extensive and diverse group of flavors can cause a common vinous affliction known as WPP aka Wine Pairing Paralysis. With the cacophony of flavors and textures involved in a meal designed to stuff you until bursting, what wine could possibly (1) complement the meal, (2) appeal to a variety of palates and (3) not break the bank? Here are a few tips and recommendations to help make the process a little easier for Thanksgiving or any other holiday meal:

#1 When presented with dishes such as roasted turkey, caramelized onion and cornbread stuffing, cranberry compote, sweet potato casserole and Brussels sprouts at the same meal, the best wines to select (and guests too I might add) are those that “play nicely with others.” Choose wines that are fruit-forward with a food-friendly acidity that will not only stimulate your taste buds but “do no harm” to your already flavor filled meal. Hold off on tannic Cabernet Sauvignons or heavily oaked Chardonnays and opt instead for wines that are lighter in style like the 2012 Hahn Pinot Gris from Monterey, California ($14) or for reds, the Art + Farm’s The Messenger Red Wine Number One, NV ($16), also from California.

#2 The same principles apply when trying to satisfy a variety of palates at your holiday gathering. Avoiding wines with harsh tannins and heavy oak influence is usually a good game plan. Select a fruity, approachable Alsatian white wine or crisp, sparkling wine like Prosecco to appease your guests. While universally appealing, these wines will also complement the flavors in your meal beautifully. Try the Helfrich Gewürztraminer, Alsace, France, 2011 ($14) or the BiancaVigna Prosecco DOC, Veneto, Italy, NV ($15). For a red, try the elegant Copain “Les Voisins” Pinot Noir, 2010 ($42) from California’s Anderson Valley.

#3 We all know holidays like Thanksgiving can involve feeding a small army of family and friends; however, finding an appropriate wine to serve doesn’t have to break the bank. Choose wines from regions known for producing great values at reasonable prices and save your Classified Growth Bordeaux and California cult collectibles for another occasion! Stock up on your favorite value wines and have them on hand when guests drop by for some “holiday cheer.” Great examples include this duo from Domaine de Triennes, the Sainte Fleur Viognier, 2011 ($16) or for red, the St. Auguste, 2008 ($22) a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot fermented in 2-6 year old barrels from Domaine Dujac in Burgundy.

Steve & I & the Oven Roasted Tukey with Sage Butter!

Also, if you’re still not sure which turkey recipe to try, I’m happy to share two of my all time favorites that are sure to please a crowd. The first is a classic recipe from Chef Tyler Florence for Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter. The sage butter is slathered over the bird and under the skin and makes this turkey the most beautiful shade of mahogany you have ever seen! Have your camera ready because you will be snapping photos right and left. After years of going through all the trouble of brining my bird, I made this recipe one year and was hooked. In addition to creating beautiful color, the copious amount of butter also keeps the bird from drying out so brining was no longer necessary. You can also still make gravy from the drippings, see below for a wonderful gravy recipe. If you do make this turkey recipe you must also make the Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing that pairs with it. It is mouth wateringly delicious and I highly recommend cooking the stuffing in the bird, there is just no substitute. In case all the delicious stuffing doesn’t fit, be sure to have a buttered casserole dish on hand to bake the excess.

If you’re looking for a bird that’s a little different from the classic preparation, The Barefoot Contessa’s Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter is simply out of this world! The white truffle butter enhances the flavor of the turkey so beautifully yet the bird never seems overly “truffled.” My husband Steve is not the biggest truffle fan and yet he loved this recipe. If you choose to make this turkey you also have to make the best gravy I’ve ever tasted, which is also an Ina Garten recipe. Her delicious Homemade Gravy includes Cognac in addition to white wine, heavy cream and the drippings from the bird which synergize to create pure deliciousness. This gravy also works well with the aforementioned Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter.

I hope you enjoy these Thanksgiving wine pairing suggestions and recipes! All the wines mentioned in this post are available at The Wine Atelier and we’d be happy to consult with you on your Thanksgiving menu as well. You can always text or call 561.317.6663 with your food and/or wine pairing questions. Steve and I would also like to wish you a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.