Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, the most food centric holiday of the year. And, anyone who has ever prepared a Thanksgiving dinner knows how much work – and stress – is involved. We obsess over every little detail as we strive to wow our families and friends with our culinary prowess. But nobody’s perfect, and sometimes even the best-laid plans go awry. That’s when it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve.
One year, my mother-in-law accidentally turned my oven on to “broil” while I had two beautiful pumpkin pies baking in it. As I sifted through the ashes of my poor, incinerated pies, I just wanted to cry! Actually, I did cry. But then my creative spirit kicked in, and I came up with this super quick and easy alternative using ingredients that I already had in my pantry.
Pumpkin Pie Parfaits with Gingersnap Crumbles are a riff on a traditional pumpkin pie. They have all the delicious components of the classic, with a fraction of the effort. The parfaits can either be made the day of or prepared in advance. Thus, they won’t take up valuable real estate in your oven.
The base of these parfaits is a cool and creamy custard made with cook and serve vanilla pudding mix and canned pumpkin puree. The custard is layered with freshly whipped cream and spicy, crunchy gingersnap and pecan crumbles. Despite their humble beginnings, they make a lovely and elegant holiday dessert.
Whether served in pretty wine goblets or funky vintage jars, your guests will never suspect that these scrumptious, little Thanksgiving treats didn’t take hours to prepare.
Pumpkin Pie Parfaits with Gingersnap Crumbles
- 1 package cook and serve vanilla pudding
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 batch gingersnap crumbles (recipe follows)
- Using the milk, prepare pudding according to package directions. Chill until thickened. When chilled, mix in pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. If you haven’t already made the Gingersnap Crumbles, you can do it now.
- Whip cream with sugar to stiff peaks. Chill until ready to assemble parfaits.
- To assemble, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of gingersnap crumble into the bottom of 6-8 wine goblets, glasses or jars. Spoon a few tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture on top, and add a layer of whipped cream. Repeat, beginning with the crumble and ending with whipped cream until you have reached the top of the container. Sprinkle the top with a few more gingersnap crumbles.
- Chill until ready to serve.
Serves 6-8, depending on how big your glasses are.
- 12 gingersnap cookies
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Put the gingersnaps in a zip lock bag, seal and pound into large crumbs. You should have about 1 cup of crumbs.
- Add the nuts, brown sugar and melted butter to the bag, seal and mix well.
- Pour mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Break apart any big clumps. The crumble can be slipped into the oven with other dishes, or made a day in advance and stored in an airtight container.
Any leftover crumble can be used to top ice cream, mixed into yogurt or as a garnish for other desserts.