Archive for November, 2011

Pumpkin Praline Trifle

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Here’s a flavorful twist to the traditional trifle that’s just perfect for a Thanksgiving dessert. This Pumpkin Praline Trifle is akin to a Tiramisu in its ladyfinger-layered composition. It satisfies your pumpkin urge without being too heavy. The bits of pecan praline dispersed throughout the dish lend a nice crunchy texture to an otherwise airy dessert. I originally made this for a recent potluck party, but will definitely be making this again for our actual Thanksgiving dinner. The original recipe is from, and one of the reasons this dessert appealed to me is the no-bake factor, which can be quite convenient when the oven is occupied by turkey and sides.

Pumpkin Praline Trifle (adapted from


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray (if not using a Silpat)
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cups pecan halves (about 6 ounces)

Mascarpone cream:

  • 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1 8-ounce container chilled mascarpone cheese
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (or half and half)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 3-ounce packages ladyfingers
4 1/2 tablespoons dark rum, divided

For Praline:
Line baking sheet with silpat or spray with nonstick spray. Using a heavy saucepan, bring both sugars and half and half to a boil over medium-high heat and whisk. Reduce head to medium-low for five minutes and whisk continuously. Add the butter, vanilla and salt and let simmer for about 8 minutes until temperature on a candy thermometer reads 260 degrees. (I tested by dropping a small amount into a cup of cold water; it should harden immediately in the water). Remove from heat and immediately spread mixture into a single layer onto silpat/prepared sheet pan. Be quick! Allow to cool and then cut into small chunks about 1/4″ or about the size of chocolate chips. This recipe makes a generous amount of praline, which can be reserved for another use in an airtight container.

For Marscapone Cream:
Whisk all ingredients (whipping cream, marscapone cream, sugar and vanilla extract) until stiff peaks form. Reserve a half cup for the pumpkin filling.

For Pumpkin Filling:
Whisk all ingredients  (pumpkin, brown sugar, whipping cream or half and half, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, salt, cloves) until combined. Whisk in reserved 1/2 cup marscapone cream until just combined.

Using an 8″x5″ trifle dish, spread a thin layer or 1/3 cup marscapone cream over the bottom of dish. Arrange a layer of ladyfingers over cream (approx 6-7 standard size ladyfingers). Sprinkle rum over ladyfingers. Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin filling over, ensuring filling reaches the edges. then sprinkle praline over this. Spread 1 cup marscapone cream over. Place another layer of ladyfinger sprinkled with rum, followed by 1 cup pumpkin filling, then a layer of praline. Repeat this last layer one more time, then top with remaining marscapone cream. Cover and let set in refrigerator 1 day or preferably 2. Before serving, sprinkle top decoratively with more praline.

Happy Thanksgiving!