SHF: Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
My entry for SHF this month is Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle. This month, the event is being hosted by the lovely Leslie from Definitely Not Martha. The theme she has selected is Beta Carotene Harvest. The idea is to create a dessert using typical harvest gourds and roots, such as pumpkin, squash or sweet potato. The perfect Thanksgiving theme!
This trifle is a really simple recipe that gets lots of help from a few boxes, namely, boxed vanilla pudding and gingerbread mixes. Now, before you recoil in horror and run screaming into the night, let me explain.
First of all, I was going to submit the gorgeous Bourbon-Pumpkin Cheesecake that I made for Thanksgiving. It is a favorite of mine and I had decided to make it weeks ago. Unfortunately, in my blog travels, I noticed that a few other bloggers had also made the exact same one. Not wanting to look like a big, fat copycat, I had to regroup and come up with something else. It had to be something easy, because I need to go out of town next week and my time is limited. So, Paula Deen came to the rescue with this nifty little recipe. I have made it before and it is really delicious. The kids absolutely love it.
.........................................(My beautiful cheesecake!)
Second, I just don't get some of the kitchen snobbery that I sometimes encounter towards using boxed mixes. Sure, it's always preferable to create a fabulous dessert from scratch. However, many home cooks don't have either the time or expertise to do that. Beginning with a box can be a great shortcut, and can also be a great foundation to build something wonderful on, like this trifle. There. Now that I've finished needlessly defending myself, let's get on with it.
The base for this trifle is gingerbread. I used Betty Crocker brand, mainly because that was the only one I found at my market. It works really well in this dish. The filling consists of cook and serve vanilla pudding, canned pumpkin, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice mix, cardamom and Cool Whip. I doubled the amount of vanilla pudding, because, well, because I wanted to! I also prepared the pudding using a 2/3 ratio of whole milk to heavy cream. Yes, I said heavy cream. (Paula would be soooo proud!) This little trick makes the pudding mixture turn into something very closely resembling a sinfully rich pastry cream. I also sometimes fold some whipped cream or Cool Whip into it too. The original recipe calls for canned pumpkin pie filling, but I prefer to use plain pumpkin and add my own spices. That way, I can control the sweetness and spiciness of the custard.
This is a really luscious and decadent dessert. I sometimes serve this in a big trifle bowl, which makes a pretty dessert centerpiece for your table. I have also served it in individual glasses, which is a little neater. Either way, I hope you won't let the boxes scare you off. No one will ever know!
Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
Adapted from Paula Deen
2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
2 (4.6-ounce) boxes cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix, prepared
2 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup crushed gingersnaps, optional
Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool.
Combine the pumpkin, sugar and spices. Stir into the pudding.
Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping.
Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping.
Sprinkle the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired.
Refrigerate several hours or overnight.