You guys get to see the amazing dishes I make on a daily basis, but what you don’t get to see are the epic fails. Those are swept under the rug and hidden from your vision because no one needs to see the apocalyptic catastrophes that occur in my poor kitchen.
For example, I had it in my head to make a pumpkin spice latte tiramisu. It was a totally delicious idea with all the best intentions, but when I actually went to execute it, I ran into trouble. I purchased craptastic-quality gingersnaps to soak in the coffee (in lieu of traditional ladyfingers), and they literally disintegrated when I added the liquid. No exaggeration, there was not a crumb or chunk to be seen; it became pure liquid.
Needless to say, I had to toss it. But then I was left with a bowlful of wonderful pumpkin mousse, and I sure as sugar cookies wasn’t going to waste that. So, with that luscious filling, I skipped the tiramisu and instead stacked my trifle dish high with this Gingerbread-Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Trifle.
Hello, layers and layers of heaven!
Encompassed in this trifle dish are layers of smooth, creamy spiced pumpkin mousse, soft chunks of gingerbread, and gobs of rich, velvety chocolate ganache. It’s pure decadence, yet the mousse and cake are so light. Plus, the whole thing is chilled, making it just as refreshing as it is sweet tooth-satisfying.
Every spoonful tastes like the holidays; it’s all the flavors of Christmas and Thanksgiving in one. You get those great soulful fall spices, the classic Christmas treat that is gingerbread, and good old fall & winter-friendly pumpkin. Everything melts together in a perfect harmony of flavors. You won’t believe how well the spices, gingerbread, pumpkin, and chocolate taste together. It’s a dynamic, all-encompassing experience.
My sister really captured the essence of this dessert when she said, “You never know what you’re going to get in each bite.” There’s so many wonderful flavors and textures to experience! Plus, this is a super easy dessert that can be made ahead, but yields a beautiful presentation, making it perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert.
Be prepared; you’re going to need a big spoon for this!
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- The gingerbread can be replaced with store-bought gingersnaps, which will soften up beautifully when layered, to make this a no-bake dessert.
- Make this up to 24-hours ahead. The longer it chills, the better and more flavorful it tastes!
- If you don’t want to make your own ganache, by good-quality chocolate sauce at the store.
- No trifle dish? Make these as parfaits and serve in glasses instead.
Gingerbread-Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Trifle
By The Smart Cookie Cook
Yield – 10 – 12 servings
*Note: this needs to chill at least 6 hours.
For the cake
- 1 8×8 pan gingerbread cake or spice cake, store-bought or homemade
For the Mousse
- 1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
- 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 1/8 tsp. clove
- 1/8 tsp. ginger
- 1/4 tsp. salt
For the Ganache
- 3 1.5-oz. milk chocolate bars, chopped
- 3 4-oz. semisweet milk chocolate bars, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Bake the gingerbread according the box/recipe’s directions. Let cool completely then remove from pan and chop into chunks.
- Make the ganache: Put chopped chocolate into a large heat-proof bowl. Pour the heavy cream into another small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 second intervals until hot and simmering. Pour over chocolate and whisk until completely smooth. Allow to cool so that it is still slightly warm and liquid, but not hot.
- Make the mousse: Beat the mascarpone, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, ginger, and salt until fluffy and well-combined. In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold into pumpkin mixture until well-combined.
- In a trifle dish or large bowl, spread one-third of the pumpkin mousse on the bottom. Sprinkle with half the gingerbread chunks then drizzle with half of the ganache. Top with another third of the pumpkin mousse, the rest of the gingerbread, and almost all of the remaining ganache, reserving about 1/4 cup. Top with the remaining pumpkin mousse and spread into a smooth, even layer. Finish with a drizzle of the remaining ganache. To repeat: pumpkin, gingerbread, ganache; pumpkin, gingerbread, ganache; pumpkin & final drizzle of ganache.
- Chill for at least 6 hours or up to 24 before serving. Store covered in fridge for up to a week.