Dec 2009

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle


As I read through the final issue of Gourmet magazine with a tissue in hand, I was briefly cheered up by this delightful recipe for a Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle. Whereas classic trifles are comprised of alternating layers of sponge cake and custard, this one swaps out sponge cake for robust gingerbread and replaces plain custard with a wispy pumpkin mousse. Once the layers of cake, mousse, and whipped cream have chilled and mingled in the fridge, this trifle is straight up delightful! It tastes of pumpkin pie with a cakey gingersnap crust.

This recipe calls for a two-quart trifle bowl or other deep serving bowl. I initially searched for one at Target, but came away empty handed. Thank goodness for Ross. I picked up the one pictured here for $6. Do you love it? I love it. I got it at Ross. The gingerbread (uncut) can be made one day ahead and kept in the pan at cool room temperature (covered once cool). The trifle, without the top layer of whipped cream, can be made one day ahead and chilled; whip half of the cream just before serving.

For gingerbread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup mild molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk (not powdered)
  • 1/2 cup hot water

For pumpkin mousse

  • 1 (1/4-ounces) envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 (15-ounces) can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For whipped cream

  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make gingerbread

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter a 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Line pan with foil, leaving an overhang at both ends, then butter foil.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.


Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in egg until blended, then beat in molasses and buttermilk. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until smooth, then add hot water and beat 1 minute (batter may look curdled).


Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan. Using foil as an aid, transfer gingerbread to a cutting board and cut into 1-inch cubes with a serrated knife.

Make pumpkin mousse


Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small saucepan and let soften 1 minute. Bring to a simmer, stirring until gelatin has dissolved. Whisk together gelatin mixture, pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl until combined well.

Beat cream with vanilla using cleaned beaters until it holds soft peaks, then fold into pumpkin mixture gently but thoroughly.

Make whipped cream

Beat cream with sugar and vanilla using mixer until it holds soft peaks.

Assemble trifle


Put half of gingerbread cubes in trifle bowl. Top with half of pumpkin mousse, then half of whipped cream. Repeat layering once more with all of remaining gingerbread, mousse, and cream. Garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon or chopped crystallized ginger. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes 12 servings.


Recipe by Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez from Gourmet, November 2009

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27 thoughts on “Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

  1. I love it! 😉 Wish I could buy your entire trifle at Ross too! Looks yummy. I’m kind of sad pumpkin will be going “out of season” soon.

  2. I made this twice already (near Thanksgiving) and it was a BIG hit! Leftovers are great too 🙂

  3. i made this for thanksgiving and it was delicious! i added a 4th layer of candied walnuts on top of whipped cream layer….the crunch was a nice addition.

  4. Looks delicious! Thanks for the tip. I just ran to Ross and got a trifle dish, too! I’m making this for Christmas.

  5. I LOVE IT!

    I can totally picturing myself camping out in front of the TV with that giant trifle bowl and a really really big spoon. It just calls out for that kind of behavior, doesn’t it?

  6. i love your trifle dish what a find! I usually think ick when I hear triffle, but yours looks so delicious. What a great combo of holiday flavors, i just want to jump right into that gingerbread and eat it all!

  7. Pingback: Espresso Tres Leches with Pumpkin Mousse Trifle « The Jennital Life

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