Morning Coffee: Thanksgiving Shake-Up

fallThanksgiving is in two weeks. For most of us this means the same dinner with the same people. We’ll drink the same amount of alcohol, roughly, and tell the same old stories, some of which will inevitably lead to the same old family fights. Are you looking to shake things up a little? But not too much? Here’s a favorite dessert recipe of mine to replace your familiar pumpkin pie. I don’t make it often because it takes a little work ahead and a while to put together…but it’s so worth it. I found it in Gourmet Magazine in November 2009. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
For gingerbread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
½ cup milk molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
¾ cup well-shaken buttermilk (not powdered)
½ cup hot water

For pumpkin mousse
1 (1/4 oz) envelope unflavored gelatin
¼ cup cold water
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup chilled heavy cream
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

For whipped cream
1 ½ cups chilled heavy cream
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp 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 haw 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 2 quart 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. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. Optional garnish with chopped crystallized ginger.

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