For Thanksgiving and Christmas we usually tend to make the classic pumpkin pie to celebrate the season, but this year we decided to try something new while still paying homage to the pumpkin. After what felt like hours searching for the perfect pumpkin recipe that could also be easily thrown together amidst the hectic rush of events, I found this pumpkin and gingerbread trifle recipe on Epicurious, and thanks to this recipe we may never go back to a pumpkin pie again! The pumpkin mousse has that smooth creamy texture and sweet yet savory flavor of pumpkin pie, but because it is mixed in with whipped cream it has a light and airy texture. The gingerbread, pumpkin mousse, and the whipped cream are all pretty light on the sugar, so the taste is not nearly as sweet as many other holiday desserts. Because it contains so much less sugar, this is definitely a solo centerpiece dessert - it will be overshadowed alongside super sweet cakes and cookies. It is subtle and requires "focused" tastebuds!
To make things simple, I used the Gingerbread mix from Trader Joe's, but you can see the full recipe here. I recommend making and assembling the trifle the night beforehand because it requires refrigeration. The pumpkin mousse will set, so do not refrigerate all the components separately. No worries worry, gingerbread doesn't become soggy overnight!
1 loaf of gingerbread (I used the Trader Joe's Mix, but the original recipe can be found here)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 c water
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1 c chilled heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c chilled heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
For the Pumpkin Mousse:
-Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small saucepan and let sit for about 1 minute, then bring to a simmer and stir until the gelatin as dissolved
-In a bowl, whisk together the gelatin mixture, pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, and the salt
-Beat the heavy cream with the vanilla until it holds soft peaks, then gently fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture until it is thoroughly mixed together
-Beat the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla together until it holds soft peaks
-Cut up the gingerbread into slices or cubes and arrange half of the gingerbread at the bottom of your container - use a glass container to show the layers!
-Add half of the pumpkin mousse and spread it evenly over the gingerbread layer
-Add half of the whipped cream and spread it evenly over the pumpkin mousse layer
-Repeat with the remaining ingredients, but reserve a small cube of gingerbread to crumble on top of the trifle as garnish
-Refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours, and enjoy!