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Pumpkin-Maple Trifle

Yield 10 servings
A trifle is an English dessert composed of layers of sponge cake or ladyfingers doused with sherry, jam, custard, and whipped cream. This distinctly American version contains pumpkin and maple syrup. A trifle bowl is a large, footed vessel made of clear glass (so you can see all of the layers). If you don't have one, use any two-quart bowl or even a soup tureen.


  • Custard:
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pears:
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 firm Bosc pears, cored and each cut into 16 wedges (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut-flavored liqueur), divided
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Remaining ingredients:
  • 6 ounces frozen low-fat pound cake, thawed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (such as Sara Lee), divided
  • 1 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Nutrition Information

  • calories 238
  • caloriesfromfat 14 %
  • fat 3.6 g
  • satfat 2.3 g
  • monofat 0.8 g
  • polyfat 0.3 g
  • protein 3.4 g
  • carbohydrate 44.8 g
  • fiber 3.3 g
  • cholesterol 28 mg
  • iron 0.9 mg
  • sodium 155 mg
  • calcium 80 mg

How to Make It

  1. To prepare custard, combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in 1 1/2 cups milk; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Combine remaining 1/4 cup milk and egg in a small bowl. Stir one-fourth of hot milk mixture into egg mixture. Add egg mixture to remaining milk mixture in pan, stirring well. Cook over medium heat 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in pumpkin and vanilla. Pour mixture into a bowl; cover surface with plastic wrap. Chill completely.

  2. To prepare pears, combine lemon juice and pears. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pear mixture; cook 4 minutes. Drizzle 3 tablespoons liqueur over pears; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until tender. Remove pears from pan with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid in pan. Add syrup to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Pour syrup mixture into a small bowl; stir in remaining 3 tablespoons liqueur. Cover and chill.

  3. Line the bottom of a 2-quart trifle bowl with half of cake slices (cut slices to fit bowl, if necessary); drizzle with half of liqueur mixture. Top with half of the pear mixture and any accumulated juices. Spoon half of chilled custard over pears. Repeat procedure with remaining cake, liqueur mixture, pear mixture, and custard. Spread 1 cup whipped topping over custard, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cover and chill for 3 hours.