Today I am excited to introduce to you a good friend of mine, Pauline. Pauline is married to one of Mr. Vittles childhood friends, Bryan, and over the years she and I have found we have a lot in common - particularly a love of cooking & baking! She is a middle school English teacher, so she also happens to be a great writer. She has always been a wonderful supporter of V&B and I am honored to have her guest post. She's been kind enough to share not only a special Thanksgiving recipe with us, but also a peek into her holiday traditions. So a big thank you to Pauline, and a Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Thanksgiving is a bittersweet time for me both literally and figuratively. The sweet part is that Thanksgiving is a holiday that symbolizes my two favorite passions…family and cooking! I love the shades of amber and scarlet leaves, I love the flavors of nutmeg and pumpkin, I love the sounds of neighbors of all ages playing touch-football in their yards, and the scent of thyme and mirepoix sautéing in preparation for stuffing. On the other hand, the bitter part is that my job prohibits me from ever hosting my own Norman Rockwellesque Thanksgiving. On top of enduring an hour commute each way, I am a teacher and have 80 parent conferences the days and nights leading up to the holiday. It is exhausting. In addition, my husband and I travel from New Jersey to Queens, New York and battle at least three hours of white-knuckle driving in order to celebrate with 45 members of his side of the family. It is well-worth the drive, and I love that his family’s tradition has become my tradition; however, it presents me with a conundrum.
What do I bring to Thanksgiving dinner that does the following:
- is not time-consuming
- travels well
- does not require me to use an oven or do any preparation in someone else’s kitchen
- reflects the elegance of the holiday and stands out in a crowd of golden homemade pies
The answer… pumpkin tiramisu.
The basic version of this recipe appeared in Bon Appetit in November 2006. I made major changes in the ingredients and measurements. This recipe must be made 1 day ahead of time, which makes it perfect for Thanksgiving. I serve it in a glass trifle dish because you can see the layers and colors. The quantities below will fit your basic trifle dish. However, you can use any deep serving dish.
- 2 ¼ cups chilled whipping cream
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. sugar
- 12 ounces of mascarpone cheese (it comes in 8 oz. containers)
- 22.5 ounces canned pumpkin (I prefer Libby’s Pure Pumpkin, and it comes in 15 oz. cans)
- 1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 2 packages of halved, soft ladyfingers (24 total) *
- ¼ cup of Frangelico (It is a hazelnut liquor)
- 1 bag of Gingersnap cookies (I prefer Archway and crush them in a Ziploc bag with a hammer)
- 1 bag of toffee bits or Heathbar bits (found in the baking aisle)
1) Beat whipping cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Add mascarpone cheese, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice; beat just until filling is smooth.
2) Line bottom of trifle dish with one layer of ladyfingers (crowd them in and cover the bottom).
3) Lightly brush ladyfingers with Frangelico. Air on the side of caution.
4) Spread about ¾ cup-1 cup of pumpkin filling over ladyfingers.
5) Cover filling with a thin layer of crushed gingersnap cookies and toffee bits/Heathbar bits.
6) Repeat layering (ladyfingers through toffee bits/Heathbar bits) until you reach the top of the trifle dish. The final layer should be the gingersnap cookies and toffee/Heathbar bits).
7) Cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight. Serves 8.
*Note: Lady fingers vary in quantity by brand. I prefer the soft ladyfingers because it is easier to layer in a round trifle dish.