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This pumpkin treat is anything but scary

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Today being Halloween, there’s no alternative but to offer up a pumpkin-based recipe. Along with being seasonal and tasty, it’s a great way to deal with leftover pumpkin innards … or with what’s about to go on sale at the store.

This Pumpkin Trifle is an interesting alternative to pumpkin pie. Puréed squash or sweet potato can be used in place of pumpkin. Canned pure pumpkin works well and saves time, especially if your jack o’lantern is the kind that plugs in.

Along with the mashed pumpkin, this calls for Pumpkinseed Brittle, which is great on its own and has the added benefit of being handy to make ahead of time.

Happy cooking … and Happy Halloween.

Pumpkin Trifle

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. each ground ginger and nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound cake (400 g)
  • Whipped cream
  • Maple Pumpkinseed Brittle:
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup natural pumpkin seeds (shelled)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup        

In large glass bowl, whisk sugar with cornstarch; whisk in milk until smooth. Microwave, on high for 4 to 6 minutes or until boiling and thickened, whisking twice during cooking. Stir a little into egg; whisk back into sauce. Microwave, on medium (50%) for 30 to 60 seconds to thicken. Stir in vanilla.

In bowl, season pumpkin with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Whisk in custard until smooth. To prevent skin from forming, place plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, a few hours.

To assemble trifle, cut cake into 3/4-inch (2 cm) cubes. Place half in 8-cup (2 L) glass dish. Spoon half of the custard over top. Repeat with remaining cake and custard. Cover and refrigerate until serving, 4 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream and Maple Pumpkinseed Brittle.

Maple Pumpkinseed Brittle

In 2-cup heavy glass measure, combine pumpkinseeds and butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute to melt butter and lightly toast seeds.

Stir in maple syrup; microwave on high until mixture reaches hard-crack stage (300°F/150°C) on candy thermometer, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not stir. Pour immediately onto ungreased cookie sheet. Let cool and harden. Break up into pieces. Store in airtight container.

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