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December 14, 2015
At Home with Friends


Gingerbread, Pumpkin Mousse Trifle

I do love pumpkin pie but I get bored making it every year. Also, the part I like the best is the pumpkin filling which I usually eat out of the crust.

For the last few years, I’ve played around with alternatives to pumpkin pie. This year, I tried something completely new: a Gingerbread, Pumpkin Mousse Trifle. I wanted all the traditional pumpkin pie flavors with an ultra creamy texture. I made it twice to test the recipe and I had to get it out of my house because I couldn’t stop eating it.

The thing about this Trifle is that each element could stand on its own. The gingerbread is as good as any gingerbread I’ve ever eaten. You could bake it and serve it on its own with a dollop of Whipped Cream, fresh berries and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

The pumpkin mousse also stands on its own. You could put it in individual parfait glasses or fill a graham cracker or gingersnap pie crust and have a pumpkin mousse pie.

The only trick to this recipe is to be sure you are using a trifle bowl with at least a 10 cup capacity. You will have a small bit of gingerbread leftover and you might have mousse depending on the shape of your bowl. I have two different 10-cup trifle bowls and one used more than the other. The shapes are slightly different. The bowl with the straight sides used less filling. I am sure there is a scientific explanation for this, I’ll get back to you on that.

Personally, I find it no problem at all having a bit extra of everything. Kitchen snacking to keep your strength up for the Thanksgiving cooking marathon is always a good idea.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, this is a stress free recipe. You should make the components a few days ahead and assemble the Trifle in the morning after the turkey goes in the oven. It needs to chill for a few hours which works out perfectly.


EVENT: Thanksgiving

SERVES: 16-18 People


For the gingerbread:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsulphured molasses (I use Grandma’s brand)

3/4 cup buttermilk, well shaken

1/2 cup hot water

For the pumpkin mousse:

1 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (1/4 oz. each)

6 tablespoons cold water

1 1/2 cans pumpkin puree (15 oz. cans)

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 chilled heavy cream

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:

2 cups chilled heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To serve:

Crystalized ginger, chopped

Fresh berries


13X19-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper (for the Gingerbread)

10-cup trifle bowl


Make the gingerbread:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line the baking pan with parchment paper with ample hanging over all four sides.

3. Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.

4. In a stand mixer, at medium speed, beat together butter and sugar until pale.

5. Beat in egg until blended, then beat in molasses and buttermilk.

6. At a low speed, mix in flour mixture until smooth. Then add hot water and beat 1 minute.

7. Don’t worry if the batter looks curdled. Spread it evenly in baking pan.

8. Bake 35-40 minutes just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9. Cool in pan. When completely cool, cover pan with foil, store at room temperature until ready to assemble Trifle.

Make pumpkin mousse:

1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a saucepan and let soften 1 minute. Bring to a simmer, stirring until gelatin has dissolved.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together gelatin mixture, brown sugar, spices and salt until well combined.

3. In a stand mixer, beat heavy cream with vanilla until it holds soft peaks and then fold into pumpkin mixture. Cover and refrigerate until time to assemble the Trifle.

Make whipped cream:

1. In a stand mixer with clean beaters, whip cream with vanilla until it holds soft peaks.

2. Cover and set aside until ready to assemble.

Assemble trifle:

1. Cut Gingerbread into cubes and fill bottom of trifle bowl with a layer of Gingerbread.

2. Top with half of the Pumpkin Mousse, then half of the Whipped Cream.

3. Repeat, layering once more using another layer of Gingerbread, remaining Mousse and Whipped Cream.

4. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

5. Decorate with chopped crystalized ginger and fresh berries just before serving.


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