Aside from shopping for gifts, food — both making and consuming — seems to be most folks’ main concern when planning for said holidays.
The thought of preparing a large feast or nibbles for a large fête can be quite daunting, and for most people, the dessert course often seems to be where home cooks are either spending hours preparing or they’re skipping the hassle by just purchasing something from the grocery store. Not to sound like Rachael Ray or Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) from The Matrix, but what if I told you that you could whip up a mouthwatering dessert in thirty minutes or less and be able to brag that you made it all from scratch?
My inspiration for the following recipe came when I needed to whip up a quick dessert, but didn’t have enough time (or motivation) to bake a whole pumpkin pie. These Pumpkin-Gingersnap Trifles incorporate the flavors of classic pumpkin pie — spiced pumpkin filling, whipped cream, gingersnap cookie “crust” — but take only about a third of the time to make from start to finish. The best part about the dish is that you can make them as individual servings or in one big dish to share.
So if you’re strapped for time this holiday season and/or baking challenged, try out this quick and easy pumpkin treat which is sure to impress all of your guests.
Makes about 4-6 servings
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup mascarpone (substitute room temperature cream cheese)
1 cup chopped gingersnaps, plus extra crushed gingersnaps for sprinkling
2 tablespoons dark rum or amaretto liqueur
For the whipped cream: Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or an electric mixer, beat the cream and powdered sugar until it starts to become stiff (do not over beat the cream as it will separate). Reserve two-thirds whipped cream for serving and one-third for the pumpkin layer; refrigerate until ready to assemble.
For the pumpkin filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla, and spices. With a rubber spatula, fold in half of the mascarpone, then half of the reserved whipped cream. Repeat with the remaining mascarpone and whipped cream until they’re completely mixed together; it should be smooth and fluffy.
For the cookies: Sprinkle alcohol of choice over the crushed cookies in a small bowl and mix well. Don’t do this until right before assembling parfaits as the cookies will get soggy the longer they soak in the booze.
To assemble: If you have piping bags or large zip-loc bags, fill them separately with the pumpkin and the cream fillings. If not, you can just use a spoon to fill serving dishes. In clear glass serving cups or bowls, spoon or pipe one-third of the pumpkin filling into and sprinkle one third of the cookies on top. Repeat with whipped cream, then cookies, and top with more pumpkin. Repeat this pattern again if you have enough room in your serving dishes, ending with whipped cream as the top layer.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 1 hour. Just before serving, top with the crushed gingersnaps. These can be made up to a day ahead.