One of the chefs on ‘The Chew’ made a trifle using layers of torn doughnuts instead of ladyfingers or pound cake. Cinnamon applesauce doughnuts! I imagined them buried between creamy layers of pumpkin mousse and whipped topping. Trifle heaven! I decided a pumpkin trifle needed to be made- the whole thing screamed “Thanksgiving!”
I make a traditional pumpkin cheesecake, sometimes even in jars, every year for Thanksgiving. It’s loved by all, but I wanted a change. Just this once a pumpkin trifle sounded like an excellent idea. I found a recipe for a pumpkin mousse to use as the custard part of the trifle, made a grocery list for my P.S. (Personal Shopper/hubby) and sent him off shopping.
The next day I laid two bricks of cream cheese out on the counter to let them get to room temp (I doubled the mousse recipe). I’m one of those people who NEVER remembers to get butter or cream cheese to room temp before starting to cook or bake. I end up warming them in short spurts in the microwave. So I started right this time.
Then I stuck a can of what I thought was pumpkin under the electric opener and realized I’d made a mistake. I don’t know how I did it, but I opened a can of diced tomatoes instead! Good grief, talk about reading one can and grabbing another! After the tomatoes were put into a storage container and exiled to the fridge, I found an actual can of pumpkin and opened it. Now I was ready!
I had asked my P.S. to bring home cinnamon applesauce doughnuts and he’d called me from the store, asking how many I wanted. I said 3 dozen, having no idea how many I needed. He had to special order them from the bakery department and it ended up being a bit costly. I had no idea a dozen of doughnuts could cost that much, let alone 3 dozen! Oops! If one had the talent to make them the dish would be cost less and probably be even more delicious. I was content to let the bakery excel at that part of my trifle, I don’t make doughnuts.
Using room temp cream cheese the making of the mousse is fast. I simply beat the cream cheese and sugar until they were creamy and smooth. I should have used my stand mixer but I’m old school and tend to grab the small hand mixer first. And my arm can always use a workout.
I added the canned pumpkin to the cream cheese mixture, along with the pudding and pumpkin pie spice and beat again until mixed.
Gradually I beat in the milk, about 1/4 cup at a time.
Finally I folded in my whipped topping and my mousse was done. It tasted absolutely wonderful. It made me wonder why they don’t put pumpkin pudding/mousse in those little cups of pudding they sell in the stores. This was way more interesting than their plain vanilla or butterscotch.
I use a glass bowl when I make trifle that although it’s not a traditionally shaped trifle bowl it comes close. I layered a good amount of torn up doughnuts as the first layer and realized, looking at my ingredients, that I probably had at least two bowl’s worth of materials. Another oops! I pulled a plastic storage container out of the cupboard and filled it with layers along with my glass bowl. I’d keep the second trifle at home for us to nibble on (gobble) after Thanksgiving. The pretty glass bowl trifle would be taken to the family holiday.
I ended up with layers of doughnuts, then mousse, then whipped topping in each container. I made two layers of each ingredient then topped the dishes with slices of doughnut and a sprinkling of cinnamon. They were pretty and smelled delicious. I covered both and refrigerated them.
On Thanksgiving the dessert bar was so full (we’re obsessed with dessert) that I had quite a bit of trifle left over. They loved it but there was a lot of other things to sample too. I sent containers home with several people, knowing I had a batch at home yet. My P.S. and I ate on it for almost a week. Luckily it lasts very well in the fridge! As the trifle aged the doughnuts absorbed some of the mousse and it just got better and better. It didn’t get mushy, just a bit more blended.
I think next time I’ll stick to a single recipe of the pumpkin mousse and cut back on the amount of doughnuts. This made enough for a very large group when doubled! But it is good that it does last quite awhile so no pumpkin and doughnut goodness was wasted. The quantities in the recipe make one nice trifle bowl full of goodness.
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 can pumpkin puree
1 package instant pudding mix (I used Jello Cheesecake Pudding)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup 2% milk
1 3/4 cup whipped topping (I used Cool Whip)
Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin, pudding mix and pie spice. Gradually beat in milk. Fold in whipped topping.
Adapted from Taste of Home
1 recipe of pumpkin mousse
3 dozen cinnamon applesauce doughnuts
24 ounces whipped topping (I used Cool Whip)
Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for sprinkling on top (optional)
Make mousse and set aside. Break doughnuts into 5 or 6 pieces each. Reserve several to slice for garnish on top of the trifle.
Start with a layer of doughnuts followed by a layer of mousse and a layer of whipped topping. Repeat until ingredients are used. Garnish with doughnut slices and a sprinkling of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Refrigerate until served.
Lasts about a week in the refrigerator.