You know the holidays are around the corner when your local Starbucks begins selling Pumpkin Pie Latte and Eggnog Latte again and we collectively stop thinking of pumpkins as Jack-o-Lanterns and begin envisioning them as pies.

I’m usually pretty much of a holiday traditionalist. For Thanksgiving, I expect a golden brown roasted turkey on the table, giblet gravy, homemade cranberry relish, buttery whipped cauliflower or butternut squash, my family’s Green Pea and Asparagus Casserole, and Mike’s mother’s traditional dressing. And normally I expect a sugar-free pumpkin pie (with a low carb crust, of course) topped with a big dollop of whipped cream. But I saw a dessert in our local paper a week or two ago that may prompt me to break with tradition this year.

Pumpkin Trifle.

Pumpkin Nut Trifle

It called for myriad things that would be oh-so-very challenging to a low carb diet, namely: 9 full sheets of regular graham crackers, 1/4 cup of candied ginger, 1 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, and a prepared, full-carb pound cake–i.e. nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.

But the notion of trifling with tradition intrigued me and I immediately knew just how to bend it to my lower carb will. A shift here, a substitution there and voila a much-lower-carb, but every-bit-as-tasty version. Do note that I said it’s lower in carbs, not calories. There is absolutely nothing low in calories about it; it’s so rich that a little serving will go a very long way.

Pumpkin Nut Trifle
Serves 10

1 recipe Nut Crumble (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 recipe low-carb Golden Pound Cake (recipe available at www.lowcarbcookwoRx.com)
1/2 cup brandy (or sugar-free hazelnut daVinci syrup for a non-alcoholic version)
4 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided use
24 packets Splenda, divided use
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided use
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1. In advance, prepare Golden Pound Cake from recipe. When cool, wrap tightly in plastic or store in an airtight container until ready to use. (Up to 2 days, sealed, at room temperature; tightly wrapped 1 week in refrigerator or several weeks in freezer.)
2. Prepare Nut Crumble according to recipe that follows, but add 1 teaspoon of dried ginger to the mixture. Set aside.
3. Cut cooled pound cake into 1-inch thick slices and the slices into 1-inch cubes. Pour the brandy over the cubes and let it soak in. Arrange about half the pound cake in the bottom of a clear glass trifle bowl (or large clear dish). Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups heavy cream, 12 packets Splenda, and 2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat to stiff peaks.
5. Spoon about 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture onto the cake cubes in the trifle bowl, spreading to the edges with the back of a spoon.
6. Sprinkle the Nut Crumble mixture evenly over the whipped cream, being sure the outer edge of cream layer is well covered to show the contrasting layers through the side of the bowl.
7. In a separate bowl, mix canned pumpkin, remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream, pumpkin pie spices, and 12 packets Splenda, beating until smooth. Fold in another 1/3 of the whipped cream and spoon this layer over the nuts, smoothing to the edges again.
8. Add the remaining brandy-soaked cake cubes in a single layer over the pumpkin mixture.
9. Top with remaining whipped cream and sprinkle top with a bit of additional pumpkin pie spice.

(You can prepare everything up to step 9 in advance, cover, and refrigerate for up to a few hours. If you do this, only whip half the cream,sweetener, and vanilla mixture initially and whip the second half for the topping just prior to serving.)

Nut Crumble

1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter,melted
1/4 cup granular Splenda
pinch fine salt (or to taste)

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pulse to a coarse meal. Use to top desserts or quick sweet breads or as a component in desserts.

One Comment

  1. MD: Stumbled across this and knew right away this was YOU! I am making a trifle in honor of my Brit friend and his wife who founded the Gilbert & Sullivan Society in Tulsa 25 years ago — which has evolved into LOOK (Light Opera Oklahoma). I sang with LOOK and later became marketing director. Jane Everitt passed away last week and so I felt compelled to recreate a trifle. We used to feature a trifle parade at an annual G&S gala at which all the board members made their own versions of trifle. It was quite something to behold. So fondly, I wanted to memorialize those happy times — but have totally forgotten the process. Now I am armed with a great pumpkin version certain to compliment my TOFURKEY!!!!!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Can’t wait to hear how it turned out! Both the Trifle and the Tofurkey 🙂

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