The thing about traditional Thanksgiving dinners is that every year, we do more or less the same thing: there’s always a prime-grade rib roast, basic mashed potatoes, a salad, and an [unknown] side dish that someone always brings. (This year’s unknown was a decidedly creamy macaroni and four-cheese, courtesy of my cousin Amy – Thanks Amy!)
The other unknown is the dessert. And this year, I had a request: to make a light pumpkin dessert. Additional criteria: it needed to be made ahead, served cold or at room temperature, and feed a small army. Bonus points if I can make it cute, too.
Enter: the pumpkin trifle. I borrowed the idea from Joe’s Restaurant in Venice Beach and made my own version based on memory. Mine starts off with a layer of pumpkin mousse, spiced with cinnamon, ginger and allspice. It’s whipped with so much air it almost floats. Then comes a sprinkling of gingersnaps laced with black pepper; a little bit of crunch to counter the mousse. And to finish, some more air, locked in a cloud of vanilla cream. Everything contained, covered with a lid, ready for serving, and perfect for autumn.
Pumpkin Mousse with Gingersnaps and Vanilla Whipped Cream
This autumn pumpkin trifle starts with a layer of pumpkin mousse, then gets a layer of crumbled gingersnap cookies, and is finally topped off with vanilla whipped cream and more gingersnap crumbs. Light as a cloud, not too sweet, and perfect to make ahead… in quaint little glass jars.
~ Makes 24 ~
~ Special Equipment Needed ~
- 24 half-pint glass jars with lids
~ Ingredients ~
- 1 batch gingernsnaps, cooled and crumbled
- 29-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
- 10 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
~ Preparation ~
Preparation Time: 1 hour
- Minute 1: In a 5-quart saucepan, combine pumpkin puree, 4 cups heavy cream, 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons vanilla extract and simmer over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, whisking often. Meanwhile:
- Minute 3: Prepare an ice bath by filling a very large prep bowl (larger than the saucepan) with ice and water; set aside.
- Minute 10: Remove the 5-quart saucepan from heat. Gently place the 5-quart saucepan inside the prep bowl to cool down the mixture. Do not let any water or ice from the prep bowl spill into the pumpkin mixture. Using a whisk, stir the mixture once every five or ten minutes until it is completely cooled, about 30-45 minutes.
- Minute 15: In another prep bowl, combine 4 cups heavy cream, ½ cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Tip: Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel to prevent cream from splashing all over your kitchen. Using handheld mixer turned onto the highest speed, mix the heavy cream mixture under the kitchen towel until cream is whipped, about 60-90 seconds. Be careful not to overmix. Set aside.
- Minute 20: In another prep bowl, whip remaining 2 cups heavy cream, following general directions in Step # 4 and set this mixture aside, separately from the other batch of whipped cream.
- Minute 40: Using a silicone spatula, fold the second batch of whipped cream (from Step # 5) into the pumpkin mixture just until thoroughly combined.
- Minute 44: Set aside ¾ cup of gingersnap crumbs to make sure you have enough to finish the tops of the trifles.
- Minute 46: Spoon 1/3 cup of the pumpkin mousse mixture into the bottom of each glass jar. Then add ¼ cup of the gingersnap crumbs. Then add 3 tablespoons of the whipped cream from Step # 4. Finish by sprinkling 1 teaspoon of the reserved gingersnap crumbs that were set aside in Step # 7.
Notes: If not serving immediately, seal jar with a lid and store trifle in the refrigerator.
Source: Rustic Garden Bistro