Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

I promised I had a few more pumpkin recipes to share this season and this is one of them. Before I could get started I had to get something decent to actually  make the recipe in. I didn’t own a trifle bowl. Instead of one large bowl, I opted to get several mini trifle bowls. I figured this would allow for easier individual servings and also easier leftovers, should any not get eaten immediately. Then you’re not left with a scooped out section missing from a large bowl.

I came across the recipe idea in a search, one of my many searches. I don’t remember what exactly it was about the original recipe I didn’t like but I just felt the need for it to be changed a bit. Spices are just slightly altered but the recipe is technically made up from two different recipes. A mix of Land O Lakes and Better Homes and Gardens. In the future I might skip the cool whip layer completely and just top off individual servings with a dollop of cool whip or whipped cream. I just didn’t have enough room in my little dishes for another layer of cool whip, plus it was really hard to work with neatly. The recipe would work well with or without the added cool whip layer, so choose what you prefer for presentation as well as taste.

I was very pleased by the outcome of the gingerbread, very light and flavorful. The pumpkin mousse proved to be easy to make and had a nice unexpected light flavor. The cool whip part of the mousse helps to give the lighter flavor and color.

I know I keep saying… if you’re scared of making a pie… but really if you are not a fan of making a pie, fearful for whatever reason OR are just looking for something different to make for Thanksgiving or really any fall gathering – this would be a perfect option. Don’t expect it to taste exactly like pie, it’s much lighter and with each bite you get a different flavor seeing as it’s a layered dish, but it is absolutely a nice change of pace and an easy item to whip up for a crowd.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle


Gingerbread ingredients:
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C butter, softened
1/2 C water
1/3 C molasses
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Pumpkin mousse ingredients:
1/2 C sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 C milk
3 egg yolks
1 - 15oz can pumpkin
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C cool whip, thawed


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper. Allow at least two edges to hang over the sides for easy grabbing later. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add flour, water and molasses. Mix well, scraping sides as needed and prior to each new addition. Add egg, baking soda and spices. Mix just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 25-35 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. When it comes out clean or only has a crumb or two clinging to it, the cake is done. Cool prior to removing from pan at least 30 minutes to an hour, more time is always acceptable.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk, egg yolks, sugar and gelatin. Stir constantly. Heat until sugar and gelatin dissolve and bubbles form.

Remove from heat, and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla and spices. Cool 20 minutes in the fridge.

Fold cool whip into pumpkin mix. Cover with plastic wrap pressed against pumpkin mousse. Chill 5 hours or more.

When the mousse has thickened and chilled sufficiently you can begin making the trifle or trifles if you are opting for smaller individual portions. With the small trifle bowls I opted to cut out a circle from the gingerbread. You can use a cup of similar size or use a knife to cut a circle roughly the size you need.

I then cut that circle in half through the center, now making two circles. One circle will act as the base, the second will act as a middle layer to the trifle. If you are making a large trifle, simply cut the gingerbread into cubes with a serrated knife.
Layer the bottom with one circle or cubes of gingerbread. Top off gingerbread with a layer of pumpkin mousse, spoon in and spread out gently. If opting to add a cool whip layer, do so now. Repeat layers until you have filled your bowl or bowls.

Chill covered well with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

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2 Responses to “Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle”

  1. #
    naomi — October 28, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    This looks great and sounds delish! I love the combination.

  2. #
    mjskit — July 1, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I can certainly see why you put this as one of your favorites for last year. It looks wonderful and I love pumpkin, gingerbread and trifles. A definite must make!

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