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Pumpkin Trifle with Walnuts and Butterscotch Sauce

Pumpkin Trifle with Walnuts and Butterscotch Sauce

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings


  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, halved and scraped (with seeds)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • One 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Three 3-ounce packages of lady fingers (soft variety, not crisp)
  • 1/2 cup Nocello, or other nut-flavored liqueur
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • Butterscotch Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more if needed to achieve desired consistency


  • Combine the milk, 1 cup of the heavy cream, 1/2 cup of the sugar, vanilla bean and scraped seeds, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla bean. Add the pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice and whisk to combine.

    In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and cornstarch and whisk well. Ladle about 1 cup of the hot pumpkin mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, into the eggs and mix well. Pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot pumpkin mixture in the saucepan and bring just to a boil, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the pudding thickens -- take care not to overcook or the eggs will curdle. Immediately remove the pudding from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Cover the pudding with a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding (so that the top does not develop a skin). Refrigerate until the pudding is thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

  • In a large chilled bowl, whisk the remaining 4 cups of cream until somewhat thickened, then whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue to whisk until medium stiff peaks form. Keep cold until you are ready to assemble the trifle. Make the Butterscotch Sauce as described below and set aside until ready to serve the trifle.
  • To assemble the trifle, place a layer of lady fingers around the sides and bottom of a large trifle bowl or other clear straight sided bowl. Using a pastry brush, moisten the lady fingers with some of the Nocello. Add about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the pumpkin pudding and 2 cups of the whipped cream. Top with another layer of lady fingers and repeat the process until the bowl is completely filled. Top with the walnuts. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

    Serve the trifle in small bowls, drizzled with the Butterscotch Sauce.

  • To Make the Butterscotch Sauce:

    Place the brown sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir or swirl the pan occasionally to make sure that the sugar dissolves. Cook the syrup until it reaches the caramel stage, 240 degrees F (use a candy thermometer to determine temperature). Once the syrup reaches the caramel stage, remove the caramel from the heat. Allow the syrup to cool briefly, then add the butter to the saucepan and swirl to combine. Add the heavy cream, little by little, stirring to incorporate. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature and adjust the thickness by adding a bit more cream if necessary.

Recipe Details